Following the success of a month-long trial, forty retailers at Westfield Tuggerah are now participating in Quiet Hour every week and the feedback from customers, retailers and community partners has been overwhelmingly positive.
“The work at Westfield Tuggerah is very impressive and will have a strong impact on the Wyong-Tuggerah community. They are to be commended on this initiative to make the Westfield Tuggerah Centre an inclusive space for not only people with dementia, but for so many members of the community with invisible disabilities, particularly those affected by sensory issues,” said Bobby Redman, a local shopper who lives with dementia.
Scentre Group Regional Manager NSW/ACT Karen Skinner said: “We want our living centres to be inclusive and welcoming, and to empower all of our customers to experience our centres with ease, dignity and respect.
“We’ve listened to our customers, and our Centre Management Team has worked hard to make Westfield Tuggerah more welcoming and responsive to our customers’ needs.”
Every Tuesday between 10:30am – 11:30am, forty retailers at Westfield Tuggerah will change the type of music playing, reduce the volume throughout the centre, lower the lights in safe areas and stop non-essential announcements. Some retailers are holding off on any restocking and turning off Point-of-Sale beeping to improve the shopping experience for individuals who live with dementia, autism and sensory sensitivities.
Dementia Australia, who recently recognised the centre as a 'working towards Dementia-Friendly Organisation' is keen to see more dementia-friendly activities like these across the nation.
“Dementia Australia is pleased to support the introduction of a quiet hour at Westfield Tuggerah. We commend and acknowledge all of the retailers for taking these steps to become more welcoming and inclusive of people living with dementia, in the region" said Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe.
"With an estimated 447,000 Australians living with dementia today, and this number expected to grow to almost 1.1 million by 2058, it's important we build a better understanding of dementia and the steps people can take - such as the quiet hour, which can make someone living with dementia, their families and carers, remain connected to their community."
The term ‘working towards’ recognises that becoming dementia-friendly is an ongoing process requiring continual improvement and feedback from people living with dementia, their families and carers.
To reach this status organisations need to demonstrate they have worked with and sought feedback from people living with dementia, their families and carers, and have taken or will take steps to make changes to the built environment, and/or the delivery of services based on that feedback. Each action plan is reviewed by Dementia Australia and a team of advocates who themselves live with dementia.
To find out more about dementia-friendly activities, organisations and inclusive groups in the local area, or to sign up to become a Dementia Friend, please visit www.dementiafriendly.org.au or call the Dementia Australia National Helpline on 1800 100 500.