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Cork’s Mahon Point to become Ireland’s first dementia-friendly shopping centre

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Mahon Point in Cork is set to become Ireland’s first dementia-inclusive shopping centre under a new partnership.

Management and staff at the shopping centre will undergo a series of dementia-inclusive training sessions provided by the Alzheimer Society of Ireland (ASI) across two days next week to help them provide a welcoming and positive shopping environment to people living with dementia, and their families.

There are 64,000 people with dementia in Ireland, and the number of people with the condition is expected to double to more than 150,000 by 2045.

More than 180,000 people in Ireland are currently, or have been, carers for a person with dementia. An estimated 7,509 people live with dementia in Cork, and more than 11,000 people develop the disease annually.

Topics covered in the training will include an understanding of dementia, how to spot the signs and symptoms of dementia, communication skills to help shopping centre staff communicate better with people with dementia, and skills on how to create a dementia-inclusive community.

The ASI says a dementia-inclusive community is one where the people in the community are aware of and understand dementia, or as a city, town or village where people with dementia are understood, respected, supported, and confident they can contribute to community life, where they feel included and involved and have choice and control over their day-to-day lives.

Mahon Point general manager Justin Young: ‘Together with our retail stores, we aim to create a space where every individual can navigate with ease and dignity, ensuring inclusivity for all.’ Picture: Eddie O’Hare

Once the training is complete, the shopping centre, which has more than 60 shops, several restaurants, a cinema, and a weekly farmers’ market, will become the first in Ireland to be awarded the Dementia Inclusive Community Friends of ASI accreditation.

The general manager of the shopping centre, Justin Young, said they were delighted to partner with the ASI on this initiative.

“Together with our retail stores, we aim to create a space where every individual can navigate with ease and dignity, ensuring inclusivity for all,” he said.

The ASI’s head of operations, Siobhan O’Connor, described the partnership with Mahon Point as “a huge step forward” in its quest to create a dementia-inclusive shopping centre.

“We hope that more centres will follow their shining example to create an Ireland where people with dementia and their families can carry out their daily lives securely,” she said.

Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of conditions which cause changes and damage to the brain. It is progressive and there is no known cure.

The ASI national helpline is open six days a week, Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm and on Saturdays, 10am to 4pm, on 1800 341 341. 

You can also email at helpline@alzheimer.ie or via Live Chat at alzheimer.ie.

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