Retail therapy – Dementia and spending

Retail therapy cover

The International Longevity Centre (ILC-UK) have launched a new report, supported by abrdn Financial Fairness Trust, which finds that the UK economy could see a boost of around £948 million if we simply made our spending environments more inclusive to those living with dementia and other cognitive impairments.

An estimated 900,000 people across the UK live with dementia and this is set to almost double, to 1.6 million, by 2040.

People with dementia list shopping as one of their favourite activities, yet many feel as though shops aren’t doing enough to help them.

During a year-long project engaging people living with dementia, carers, and professionals in the finance, retail, transport and hospitality industry, their report showcases some of the barriers facing people with dementia as they try to continue doing the things they love.

Their research found that people with dementia often:

  • struggle to get to and around the shops and buy what they want and need
  • find shopping is stressful
  • are misunderstood or disrespected by staff and other customers
  • experience and worry about financial abuse and people taking advantage of them

Key changes can make a real difference for those living with dementia who want to continue doing the things they love with confidence. Their report calls for:

  • regulators to recommend shops provide training for front-line staff to understand how to support people with dementia in shops
  • shops and online services to explore adopting ‘slow shopping’, developing ways for people to take their time to buy things
  • technological innovations such as a hidden disabilities digital lanyard could easily identify and support people with dementia and cognitive impairments to shop safely
  • transport providers to provide better real-time transport information to help people with dementia navigate around towns and cities
  • a review of the Lasting Power of Attorney process which will help people with dementia enjoy their money more while dealing with the risk of financial abuse