Coles Group and aged and dementia care provider HammondCare, have partnered to create Village stores, a real-life shopping experience for aged care residents living with dementia.

The stores will be installed across HammondCare’s dementia-specific villages in NSW, Victoria, and South Australia, and will feature specially designed check-outs, counters, and shelving.

Those living with dementia have strongly reported shopping as their favourite activity as it provides them with dignity, autonomy, and a sense of meaning and purpose.

Steven Cain, Coles Group CEO, said Coles is delighted to be able to work together with dementia experts in making life easier of older Australians.

“We’re committed to lead the way in accessible shopping and this partnership is aligned with our purpose to help Australians live healthier and happier lives.”

Associate Professor Cole Cunningham, Executive Director for Research and Dementia Design at HammondCare, said the organisation is committed to evaluating the benefits of a supportive shopping system for those living with dementia.

“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. This is a great opportunity to explore how to create an authentic experience in an Australian residential care context.”

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

Mike Baired, CEO HammondCare, said the organisation was pleased to partner with Coles Group and applauded their commitment towards those living with dementia.

“This initiative will help to improve quality of life for some of the country’s most vulnerable people. We recognise that the simple act of shopping offers all people, particularly those living with dementia, meaningful engagement, independence and helps keep memories alive.”

George Saoud, Chief Executive of Emerging Businesses at Coles, said he was proud to be leading the partnership with HammondCare.

“We were proud to be the first major supermarket in Australia to introduce Quiet Hour in 2017, a low sensory shopping experience now available in 420 of our supermarkets nationwide. 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.

“We look forward to learning about how we can continue to enhance shopping experiences for older Australians who have special needs.”

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