Coles creates accessible shopping experiences

Health, aged and dementia care provider HammondCare and Coles Group are working together to improve the quality of life for older Australians by developing dementia-friendly Village Stores.

People living with dementia strongly report shopping as their favourite activity, providing them with dignity, autonomy and a sense of meaning and purpose.

To keep the experience of shopping real for people with dementia living in aged care, Coles will design and develop dementia-friendly Village Stores, which will become a feature of HammondCare’s dementia-specific villages in NSW, Victoria and soon South Australia. These villages are internationally recognised for the cottage model of small-scale household design that promotes independence and self-esteem.

HammondCare CEO Mike Baird says the organisation is pleased to partner with Coles Group on the project and applauded their commitment to support people with living dementia.

“This initiative will help to improve quality of life for some of the country’s most vulnerable people,” says Mr Baird.

Village Stores

The stores will feature specially designed check-outs, counters and shelving. Residents will be able to shop for their daily food supplies at no cost, while family of residents, staff and the local community will pay retail prices.

The stores will be refreshed for seasonal events like Christmas and Easter, helping to trigger feelings and memories for residents as they prepare for special occasions with family and loved ones.

HammondCare’s Executive Director for Research and Dementia Design, Associate Professor Colm Cunningham, says HammondCare is committed to evaluating the benefits of a supportive shopping experience for people with dementia and older people.

“The research already available highlights the importance of older people staying in control of their own food shopping for feelings of independence, community belonging and exercise,” he said. “This is a great opportunity to explore how to create an authentic experience in an Australian residential care context.”

Throughout the partnership, HammondCare will contribute its research and knowledge on best practice for aged and dementia care to help Coles to create accessible shopping environments and supportive experiences for older people and those living with dementia.

Making life easier

Coles Group CEO Steven Cain says Coles is committed to lead the way in accessible shopping.

“This partnership is aligned with our purpose to help Australians live healthier and happier lives,” he said.

Coles Chief Executive of Emerging Businesses George Saoud says he is proud to be leading the partnership with HammondCare. He also spoke of Coles’ introduction of Quiet Hour low sensory shopping experience in 2017, which is now available in 420 supermarkets.

“We know that many of our older customers who find it challenging to shop in heightened sensory environments enjoy shopping in our stores during a special hour once a week when the lights are dimmed, the radio is turned down and distractions are reduced,” he says. “We look forward to learning about how we can continue to enhance shopping experiences for older Australians who have special needs.”

Roll out

The first stage of the partnership will be the refurbishment of current on-site stores for HammondCare aged care residents in NSW and Victoria, with the first to be in HammondCare’s Caulfield Village.

Using the learnings of these redeveloped Village Stores, a brand-new custom-built Village Store, encompassing leading dementia-friendly principles will be built at the cottage style dementia care village due to open in at the Repat Health Precinct at Daw Park, Adelaide in early 2023.

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