My mother was my inspiration
My name is Katherine Vero, and I am the founder of Slow Shopping. My lovely mum Jo was diagnosed with dementia in 2005. In fact, I think she had it well before I really knew. Her behaviour had changed, and I couldn’t understand it. My mum had loved to go shopping and was brilliant at finding a bargain in the sales. As she started to become ill with dementia, I liked to take her out and share experiences that we enjoyed together. We went shopping for a winter coat, had afternoon tea in a local cafe and went shopping to the supermarket. I was trying to hold on to something of our relationship, and I wanted to do ordinary things with her and have ordinary experiences. Dementia had started to take those away from us.
The shopping trips became more and more stressful experiences for her and for me, but I didn’t want to give them up. I wanted my mum to be part of the world and not become isolated. The experience of shopping changed as mum became increasingly disconnected from the ‘real’ world. I felt that I was left mediating between my mum and the store staff, who were not always understanding.
One day we arrived at the checkout, and mum went to use her debit card in the card reader, but she could not recall her PIN. I looked to the assistant for reassurance while talking to mum about letting me use my card. Mum insisted that the assistant could see the number and knew what to do. The checkout assistant looked uninterested, and I felt very alone. I wondered if there was a way to help us in our experience of shopping. I was embarrassed and felt isolated. At that moment, I knew there must be a better way to do this.
After my mum passed away I felt inspired to come up with the idea of Slow Shopping®, providing a welcoming and safe environment for anyone who needed to take more time to do their shopping. Slow Shopping® is inclusive and caters to those who experience anxiety or mental illness, those who struggle with communication or literacy, older people, those with dementia, and all those with visible, invisible, or intellectual disabilities. Slow Shopping® advocates dedicated times within the week where store staff are aware of the particular needs of their shoppers and allows them time and space. Chairs are available as well as help points in the store. Customers are not identified as having additional needs and there are no specialist aisles or separation which can be the source of more stress.
– Katherine Vero, Founder of Slow Shopping®
Slow Shopping caters for those who suffer from anxiety or mental illness as well as those who struggle with communication.
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