Store launches 'slow shopping' for elderly customers and people with disabilities

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LONDON — Shopping isn't necessarily the most relaxing experience. But one UK supermarket will be slowing down the pace for two hours each day to help elderly customers and people with disabilities.

Sainsbury's in Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne, is trialling a new concept called 'slow shopping', tailored for vulnerable people.

Slow shopping will be run at the store every Tuesday from 1pm to 3pm. People using the service will be greeted at the store's entrance, where a Sainsbury's employee can help them with their shopping.

Chairs will also be placed at the end of aisles to help people who struggle to stand for the duration of their shopping trip. The store's help desks will also be serving samples of cakes, biscuits and fruit to shoppers.

The idea was spearheaded by local resident Katherine Vero, who found it challenging to go shopping with her mother, who had dementia. After her mother passed away, Vero was inspired to create a slow-shopping service.

"My mum used to love shopping, but as her dementia developed it became increasingly difficult and stressful for us both," said Vero in a statement.

"But I didn't want her to stop going out and become isolated. I wondered if there was a way to help us enjoy shopping."

According to research carried out by Alzheimer's Society, 850,000 people in the UK are living with dementia and 80 percent of people with the condition say shopping is their favourite activity.

RELATED: 12 ways to slash your grocery bill

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12 ways to slash your grocery bill
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12 ways to slash your grocery bill

Buy in bulk
Even if you don't think you need a bulk amount of an item, you can always find a way to use it, especially if it's a dry good or item you can store for a long time. It'll save you down the road.

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Memorize rock bottom prices
You may have to jot down the prices you pay for certain items a few times before you can gauge the maximum price you should pay every time you shop for that item.Eventually, you'll commit it to memory.

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Research specific stores' policies
Certain grocery stores will price match or honor deals from other grocery stores, while some might have certain designated deals on different items on certain days of the week. Research before you shop.

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Buy a mix of name brand and generic brand products
For dry goods and condiments, stick to generic brand. For products like meat and dairy, stick to a brand you trust.

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Skip out on anything prepared, pre-packaged or pre-sliced
It's almost always more expensive than buying bulk ingredients and using them to prepare on your own. 

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Leave the kids at home (if possible)
"How did eight boxes of fruit snacks get into the cart?"

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Don't buy boneless chicken or meat
It will cost you the price of the meat plus the cost of preparation. Buy with bone-in and prep the meat yourself.

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Take advantage of "buy one, get one" deals
Especially if they're items like meat or bread, which can be frozen and stored for quite a while.

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Plan meals around when things go on sale
Instead of planning out your meals for the week and shopping for the appropriate ingredients, figure out when certain items go on sale, buy them and plan your meals around those ingredients.

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Look at the unit price
It's possible, for example, that buying two boxes of 10 granola bars is cheaper than buying one box of 20, based on the price per unit.

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Look up, then look down
Grocery stores tend to stock their most expensive items at eye-level. Look at the top and bottom rows for cheaper items.

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Skip out on personal care items
Your best bet for these kinds of items is drugstores.

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The experience of deputy store manager Scott McMahon of helping his elderly parent while shopping opened him up to the approach by Vero.

"When my father developed cancer, I saw how hard he found shopping, yet he still wanted to go to maintain his independence, so when Katherine approached me about trialling slow shopping, I was keen to help," he said in a statement.

Sainsbury's isn't the only store to adapt to its customers' needs. Earlier this year, a supermarket in Manchester launched a 'quiet hour' for shoppers with autism.

With the slow-shopping trial in full swing, Vero is hoping the service will be rolled out to stores nationwide.

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