Cardiff-based Coles Funeral Directors has taken the pledge to become a Dementia Friendly business, as part of the Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friendly Communities initiative.
Research shows that in 2020, 22,868 people were diagnosed with dementia and this brings its unique daily challenges for those living with the disease and their support network.
Having faced their own experiences of this, the Coles team set out to become a Dementia Friendly business, working in collaboration with Marie Curie, to improve access to support across the business.
Head of Communications, Francesca Coles said: “We’re passionate about becoming a dementia friendly organisation to ensure our services are accessible to all our community members, especially after seeing first-hand how this disease can impact families. The Dementia Friends experience has truly opened our eyes to areas for improvement that we might not have otherwise considered without expert guidance from Marie Curie and the Alzheimer’s Society.”
Starting the Dementia Friendly Communities journey in December 2021, Coles was given an action plan to complete to ensure that it was ready to take the pledge. This included implementing clearer signage using a simple font to guide customers around funeral homes; utilising contrasting colours throughout the funeral homes to support understanding and wayfinding; reviewing lighting and decor to minimise confusion; team training to ensure that everyone in the business is equipped to support customers living with dementia and their families, as well as adjusting company processes to accommodate those living with dementia.
With in-person visits, Zoom sessions and one-to-one assessments of the business’ three funeral homes in the city, the process took four months to complete.
Francesca continued: “Thanks to this initiative, our team now feel better-informed to provide guidance and comfort to customers and family members who are living with dementia. As a local, family-run business that helps our community through some of their most difficult times, we’re proud to be with them every step of the way. So, we are committing to building on this activity in the long term and will continue to champion the importance of dementia friendly environments.”