Added on: 5th June, 2018 by O1
Orpington town centre was once again at the heart of this year's Dementia Action Week, with a cross section of local businesses coming together in a show of support to raise awareness and experience for themselves the challenges faced by those who live with dementia.
Organised by Orpington 1st and the Bromley Dementia Support Hub, 26 invited guests had a powerful, interactive experience of what it can be like to have dementia, with employees from Masala Dabbas, Julian Charles, Valentine & Turner, Boots, Premier Inn, Princess Royal University Hospital, O2, ODEON, Walnuts Shopping Centre and Pure Gym all taking part.
Based on 17 years of research the Virtual Dementia Experience temporarily impairs the sight, hearing, touch and mobility of guests, simulating what it may be like for people with dementia to carry out everyday tasks.
Emma Miller, Ops Manager at Premier Inn Orpington, said, "I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to take part in the Virtual Dementia Bus Experience. It's improved my personal understanding of the challenges faced by dementia sufferers, and has made me think about how I and my team can make visitors with dementia more comfortable during their stay with us."
By making small changes to the way businesses operate, the Orpington business community can make the High Street a more appealing place for people with dementia to shop and to do business.
The ODEON Orpington, who last year were the first ODEON in the country to support a dementia friendly screening and whose manager, Stephen Snell, took part in the first Virtual Dementia Experience, and said, “it is very important to me and my team that we understand how dementia affects people and what we can do to help people with dementia and their carers to enjoy movies and create new experiences and memories together."
Sarah Smith attended the experience this year on behalf of the ODEON showing her personal commitment to customer service and highlighting why she was a worthy shortlistee of the Orpington's Finest 2018 Best Employee award. This year's special screening was of the Oscar winning La La land.
Sharon Baldwin, Executive Director of Orpington 1st BID said, “Orpington has one of the largest concentrations of older residents in the borough, who are most likely to be affected by dementia. With this in mind, it is important for Orpington businesses to be aware of the needs of this customer group and understand how best to meet those needs with the products and services that they provide."
The Foyer of Tesco hosted stakeholders' stalls and provide customers with information on the various support available to both those living with dementia and, as importantly, their carers.
The Library and Walnuts Shopping centre both had temporary installations of interactive tables which help with co-ordination and imagination and are suitable for everyone but particularly supportive to those with dementia or autism.
Sharon added, "We are delighted with the commitment that has already been shown by a huge range of groups in Orpington and look forward to supporting businesses in our aim of making Orpington the first dementia friendly high street in the borough."