Alzheimer’s Society launches dementia-friendly finance guide for businesses

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We recently blogged about the rise in dementia-friendly banks and we believe it is incredibly important that businesses educate themselves on how they can support people with dementia when they are using their services.

A survey by the Alzheimer’s Society in 2013 found that 76% of people with dementia had difficulty using banks and 66% needed more assistance when banking.

In recent focus groups, the charity has identified key challenges that people with dementia are facing. These are: keeping track of spending and transactions and using online banking and self-service machines.

The Alzheimer’s Society,with a donation from MoneySavingExpert.com founder, Martin Lewis, has launched a dementia-friendly finance and insurance guide to help businesses support people with dementia to manage their finances and stay in work. It aims to help financial organisations understand the needs of people with dementia better and provide them with a better level of customer service.

Martin Lewis, founder and chair of MoneySavingExpert.com, has said on the charity’s website: “Life does not end with a diagnosis of dementia, and by allowing those diagnosed to manage their finances without worry, or by helping those helping them, it leaves them supported to live well for as long as possible.

“I’d urge our financial services industry to continue to get even more dementia-friendly too – this is in everyone’s interest. What is needed is reasonable adjustments to products and services, language and communications to dismantle the money-management barriers for those with dementia. Plus, we need to ensure that those helping someone else by operating through a Power of Attorney find it easy to open new accounts and operate them without any discrimination or difficulty.”

The guide identifies three main areas where organisations could work to improve their support of people with dementia, this includes improving dementia awareness and training in staff and also supporting any staff with the condition, improving processes to support customers and provide them with better info and sign posting and making the physical environment accessible to people with dementia. This could include making sure there are clear signs to exits, service points and toilets, as well as consistent lighting and seating areas.

Alzheimer’s Society Chief Executive, Jeremy Hughes, has said on the charity’s website:  “Dementia can devastate lives and it is vital that people with dementia are enabled and empowered to live the life they want in their community. Interacting with their bank, financial service provider or insurer can be a challenging process for people living with dementia, their families and carers.

“Not only is it important that they are properly supported, it also makes good business sense to be dementia-friendly. With support and adjustments from financial service providers, people affected can continue to independently manage their finances and access insurance that meets their needs.

“We need the whole sector to unite against dementia byc ommitting to the actions outlined in Alzheimer’s Society’s dementia-friendly financial services guide and make their employees Dementia Friends, so no one has to face dementia alone.”

We’re 100% behind businesses becoming more dementia-friendly and believe the new guide is a great step in the right direction.

If you work at or run an organisation that aims to become more dementia-friendly, you can download the guide here.