Dementia-friendly banks

Visiting a branch of a bank can be extremely overwhelming for someone with dementia. We often take it for granted but simple, everyday tasks such as withdrawing money or remembering a PIN number can become a challenge.

According to the Alzheimer’s Society, when using a bank 66% of people with dementia need assistance. It also revealed 76% of people have experienced difficulties when using a bank and 84% of carers help people with dementia deal with the bank.

More and more banks are also becoming self-service destinations and counter staff numbers are decreasing, but did you know there are certain branches who are leading the way in being dementia-friendly and giving respect and dignity to customers with dementia.

Lloyds Banking Group has made its services more accessible and its trainees are employed in how to adapt services for people. It also offers a Disability Services Support team and can provide a sign language communication service for those with hearing impairments.

It also launched the Dementia-friendly Services Charter with the Alzheimer’s Society to allow people with dementia to make their entire banking operation dementia-friendly.

HSBC has also rolled out initiatives to support customers with dementia. Staff have undergone Dementia Friends information sessions where they learn more about dementia and the different ways they can help. They have also launched an advice guide to help customers and carers handle finances as well as voice recognition passwords so people don’t have to remember PIN numbers.

Santander has also joined the Dementia Friends programme.

Natwest banks in Caerphilly and Newport have also recently been receiving dementia awareness training. The Caerphilly branch was the third area in Wales to be awarded with the ‘Working towards Dementia Friendly Communities 2015/16’ accreditation from the Alzheimer’s Society.

Staff at the branch have undertaken dementia awareness training and the branch has been adapted to make visits easier for people with dementia.

It is great to see banks putting services in place and raising awareness of people with dementia and their needs. We hope lots of other businesses will follow suit and help create dementia-friendly communities across Wales and England.

If you or a loved-one with dementia does need to visit a bank, it is still a good idea to do so with someone you trust or a carer just to be safe.