Every adult needs a will
Every adult should have EPAs in place
Many of us will become a trusted helper to an older relative
protect their money, while retaining their independence for as long as possible.
When a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is made, Westpac customers can ask for a ‘‘notification’’ to be put on their accounts to ensure an extra level of care from bank staff.
Westpac staff are now trained on how to serve people with Alzheimer’s disease, including what to do if they think a person has become confused.
People diagnosed with Alzheimer’s can also ask Westpac to recognise an ‘‘alternative contact person’’ who can be called when assistance is acquired.
It’s usually a close family member who takes on that job, a husband, a wife, a brother, a sister, or an adult child.
Westpac also helps people dementia-proof their banking, for example by making sure accounts like the power are paid by direct debit.
Some also put a low limit on their day-to-day account to limit the amount of funds that can accessed.
It’s important to make sure insurance policies that are in place do not lapse.
Closing redundant accounts to simplify banking can play a part.
Having a proper filing system at home with all important documents in one place is also important.
So is preparing for the day when some trusted other will take the lead in decision-making.
It is when a person is still able to make decisions independently that a will and enduring powers of attorney (EPA) should be put in place.
An EPA allows the person named in it to act for you, doing things like paying your bills and collecting income on your behalf.
Learning about dementia banking reminded me how many people I know who do not have wills, EPAs and trusts in place.
What also struck me was the commitment that family members have to make in helping loved ones with dementia remain independent for as long as possible.
For while 60,000 people may be living with dementia, there’s a greater number helping them manage the ordinary things in life like banking.
Hunter works in Westpac’s private bank, helping wealthy people with their banking.
But her promise to her father means she’s helped make it easier for families to play a similar roles for loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s.
An Alzheimers’ diagnosis opens a new, uncertain chapter in life.