More staff being trained in dementia-awareness

by L&D15 Aug 2016
Dementia is a condition which impacts thinking, behaviour and the ability to complete everyday tasks.

It is more common after the age of 65, however people in their 40s and 50s can also have dementia.

Apart from memory problems, symptoms of dementia include difficulty in communication, problems with walking, changes in mood and difficulties with visual perception.

However, facts like those mentioned above (and many more) are not currently well known enough for many staff who deal with customers/clients with dementia.

Now, organisations such as DBS Bank, McDonald's, SMRT and Sheng Siong Supermarket in Singapore are increasingly training frontline staff on how to deal with those with the condition.

In particular, DBS has many customers over 60, with the majority preferring to conduct banking transactions in person at the branches.

Consequently, 110 of the bank’s branch managers have undergone training by Forget us Not (FUN), and have passed on their training to more than 1,000 of their frontline staff.

FUN is an initiative in Singapore which aims to raise awareness of the rising number of people with dementia.

It is organised by Lien Foundation and Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, and involves sharing the everyday problems they face, and ways for the public to support them.

“The training equips our branch staff with the knowledge to engage properly with customers who display signs of dementia,” said Susan Cheong, Head of POSB (a brand of consumer banking services offered by DBS Bank).

“They are trained to take extra care and patience with customers who may have dementia, and to always show respect and provide reassurance if the customer is struggling,” she was quoted as saying by Channel News Asia.

The training involves staff learning to spot and assist elderly customers with dementia, and also helping walk-in customers with banking transactions.

If necessary, the DBS staff also show the customers how they can carry out some transactions from home - using mobile and internet banking.

Meanwhile, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, a new training program at a residential care home involves offering staff the chance to experience the frustration of living with the condition.

This includes completing activities such as getting dressed, finding and matching socks, tying shoelaces and unwrapping lollies.

The challenge is that they are performing these tasks when they are wearing padded gloves, tainted goggles and listening to headphones with the volume up loud.

After the training, the carers said they would be even more patient with residents

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