I am currently back in Wisconsin, and this weekend while making a trip to Piggly Wiggly, I stood in the checkout line behind a man with dementia. As he was getting ready to pay for his watermelon and pineapple, he struggled to make the correct change and with a tone of embarrassment in his voice, stated he forgot how to count out his change. The cashier moved closer to him and helped make the correct change needed in a way that I wish we all could learn from. She was patient, transparent, she did not try to demean him, or roll her eyes while he stared at the change in his hand and struggled to figure it out. This Piggly Wiggly location is a Purple Angel. This means that their employees have gone through a training in working with dementia as it relates to a grocery store, and it was beautifully at work that afternoon. We cannot always count on our employees and the employees of the establishments we visit to know instinctively how to serve those with dementia. This woman may have known what to do, and how to engage with this person with dementia without training, but we cannot count on that. This is why having an organization like the Purple Angel can drastically change our community. It may take some effort, but it is minimal compared to the impact our collective dedication will make. I walked out of that store with my Pellegrino in hand filled with great joy when reflecting the work the PA Ambassadors are doing across the globe. The care this woman took gave me hope that someday the stigma of dementia will be erased, and the level of care for those with dementia and their caregivers will far surpass what it is today. Please, if you own a company, organization, or place of business, consider becoming a Purple Angel. If you work for one of these places, share the program with your boss and invite them to make your workplace a Purple Angel. And if you think you would like to become an Ambassador take the time to discern the role. As always, thank you to those who already have become Purple Angels! Your dedication does make a difference.
If you would like to learn more about this program go to the Purple Angel tab in the top menu bar to read more and to be directed to the Global Purple Angel website. If you have any questions feel free to comment or contact me.