Yate Town Council have worked in partnership with Yate Shopping Centre to make the area more dementia friendly. Lib Dem Cllrs Sandra Emms and Jane Price of Yate Town Council, and Shopping Centre Manager Andy Lowrey recognised that the shopping centre can be quite disorientating for people living with dementia, and there have been many examples of people leaving by the wrong exit route and then getting lost.
Each route in and out of the shopping centre is now marked with different coloured planters so people can use the colours to help identify their location and exit. The red planters are placed from Poundland to Lidl, with the purple planters marking out the route from Jimmy Deanes to the Leisure Centre, the green ones are from Iceland to Miss Millies and the Blue planters are marking the way from Pandora to Tesco.
This project is part of the Town Council’s wider project to ensure the town is accessible to all. Yate is one of the first towns in the country to be awarded Age Friendly status, in recognition of the work councillors have been doing with community groups to make the town a better place to grow older in. A consultation with local residents has been undertaken focusing on what it is like getting older in the town and how sites and services can be improved. As a result of these changes, Yate won the national designation of Age Friendly town.
Yate Councillor Sandra Emms says:
“We have had a lot of stories from residents about family members living with dementia getting lost or confused in the Shopping Centre and struggling to find the right exit. People still want to have some independence, but we need to make sure they’re safe. If you or a member of your family is living with dementia, you can now find your way out of the shopping centre on the right route home by looking for the right colour planters and following them out. We also hope this will help young children identify routes, as well as those with disabilities who need visual markers.
“As well as our actions in the shopping centre, Yate Town councillors and council staff have also trained as dementia friends, and I have been providing dementia awareness sessions with community groups.”
Yate Councillor Jane Price says:
“We have been determined to ensure we make our town friendly for all age groups and are welcoming to all. Many older people want to maintain their independence and it is possible to make small adjustments to ensure this for many years. Our older people have a lot to give the community, indeed our community depends on them in many ways.
“This is a small step but will make a real difference so thank you to everyone who has been involved, especially Andy and the team at Yate Shopping Centre who have been really understanding and positive about the project.”