Growing number of Wisconsin businesses work to accommodate shoppers with memory loss

More than 110,000 Wisconsinites live with dementia
Growing number of Wisconsin businesses work to accommodate shoppers with memory loss
Alzheimer's & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin

Another Madison-area store is joining the growing number of businesses certified as “dementia-friendly” by the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Dane County.

At 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Agrace Thrift Store-West staff, volunteers, and supporters will host a ceremony celebrating the store’s new “dementia-friendly” status. Anyone is invited to dress in purple for dementia awareness and visit the store at 118 Junction Road in Madison for a ribbon-cutting presentation.

In Wisconsin, more than 110,000 live with dementia, a number that is only expected to rise as baby boomers grow older and people live longer.

RELATED: Verona businesses push to become increasingly dementia-friendly

Since 2013, the ADRC has worked to increase awareness and empathy for people living with dementia in Dane County through its dementia-friendly initiative. Its efforts include creating dementia-friendly spaces for people with memory loss to more easily access life’s necessities.

The Agrace Thrift Store-West staff and volunteers received Dementia-Friendly Community training from a certified “dementia practitioner.” This training helped them understand the challenges people living with dementia face and how to adjust customer service to best serve people with memory issues.

Staff and volunteers learn how to pick up on cues that customers or guests may be experiencing memory issues or confusion, such as lack of eye contact or confusion when dealing with money. They say the training raises awareness about the prevalence of dementia in our local community as well as creates a welcoming atmosphere in which visitors with dementia are treated with dignity and respect.

Shopping, donating, and volunteering at Agrace thrift stores helps support Agrace’s hospice and palliative care programs, which serve people across southern Wisconsin who are facing serious or life-limiting illnesses. Agrace also operates thrift stores on East Springs Drive in Madison and on Humes Road in Janesville, both of which also plan to undergo dementia-friendly training.

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