De­men­tia ini­tia­tive in bank­ing

FI­NANCES: Help­ful ser­vice for suf­fer­ers of the dis­ease

The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition) - - NEWS - Ciaran sned­don cisned­don@the­

A Dundee-born woman has cre­ated a de­men­tia-friendly bank­ing ini­tia­tive in New Zealand to hon­our a prom­ise she made to her dy­ing fa­ther.

Lor­raine Hunter, who left Dundee for Auck­land in 1985, was in­spired to im­prove ser­vices for peo­ple liv­ing with alzheimer’s af­ter ex­pe­ri­enc­ing her dad’s dif­fi­cul­ties with fi­nances.

She has spear­headed a cam­paign to turn New Zealand bank West­pac into a de­men­tia-friendly ser­vice with a se­ries of pol­icy changes to as­sist cus­tomers who have the dis­ease.

She said: “My dad (Gerry Third) lived in Dundee and Alzheimer Dundee and Alzheimer Scot­land were very, very good to him when he was liv­ing with the ill­ness.

“I wanted to try and make a dif­fer­ence to peo­ple liv­ing with the dis­ease in Auck­land where I live. It was part of a prom­ise I made to my dad to say I would help other peo­ple who had the con­di­tion.

“Be­cause I was in bank­ing, and when my dad first showed signs of the ill­ness, that was one of the big­gest dif­fi­cul­ties I no­ticed he had, I thought it would be the per­fect thing for me to try to help with.”

Lor­raine says cus­tomers now feel more com­fort­able shar­ing the fact that they have de­men­tia with bank­ing staff, at which point a note with this in­for­ma­tion is added to their ac­count.

This helps en­sure staff are aware of cus­tomers who might need ex­tra pa­tience and in­for­ma­tion, and also al­lows them to high­light any con­cerns with care­givers or fam­ily mem­bers.

Lor­raine high­lighted cases where cus­tomers had for­got­ten they had al­ready taken money out and, by know­ing they had alzheimer’s, staff are able to re­mind them they have al­ready with­drawn cash and may not need to again.

Launched a year ago, it has gone from strength to strength, and Lor­raine says feed­back from cus­tomers has been “amaz­ing”.

In 2013, the Bank of Scot­land be­came the na­tion’s first of­fi­cial de­men­tia friendly bank, in part­ner­ship with Alzheimer Scot­land.

Lor­raine ful­filled a prom­ise to her dy­ing dad.

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