Home » Legacy » How to help those with dementia plan for the future

Jonathan Schott

Chief Medical Officer, Alzheimer’s Research UK

In the last year, many of us have had time to take stock and think about putting plans in place for whatever the future may hold, including updating our Wills. For people living with dementia, this often means thinking about setting up lasting powers of attorney and planning for how future care needs can be met.

At Alzheimer’s Research UK, we have developed a new information pack to help you make plans for the future. It contains four factsheets designed to answer some common questions about Wills, inheritance tax, lasting powers of attorney and planning for future care. It comes packaged in a folder for you to add to as you start collecting your own information and useful local contacts.

We should all be regularly reviewing our wishes for what we want later in life. For people with dementia, it is important to do this sooner rather than later to allow individuals autonomy and a say over their decision making. Whether you are putting your own affairs in order, or supporting a loved one with dementia, knowing that wishes and plans have been organised will, we hope, help give peace of mind.

The impact of dementia on families

Sadly, one in three children born today will develop dementia in their lifetime. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. As you may know from personal experience, dementia does not just affect individuals but everyone who loves and cares for them, and this past year has been particularly challenging. As a researcher and clinician, I have seen the devastating impact of dementia on people and their families and know how crucial it is that we make progress in tackling this condition and the diseases that cause it, to give hope to future generations.

As you may know from personal experience, dementia does not just affect individuals but everyone who loves and cares for them, and this past year has been particularly challenging.

Our goal at Alzheimer’s Research UK is to fund the best research into diagnosis, prevention, treatments and a cure for the diseases that cause dementia. In recent times, the development of vaccines against COVID-19 has demonstrated the enormous impact that medical research can have for society. Research has already helped millions of people recover from cancer and heart disease, we believe we can make the same progress for people with dementia.

Request your free pack

To request your free Planning for the Future pack, or to learn more about the work of Alzheimer’s Research UK, please contact the Gifts in Wills team using the details below.

Telephone: 01223 896 606

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/planning-for-the-future

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Home » Legacy » How to help those with dementia plan for the future

Charlotte Matier

Director of Development, Alzheimer’s Society

Fermín Martínez
de Hurtado Yela

Sustainability Strategy Manager, Santander UK

People living with dementia worry about their financial independence. That’s why a high street bank has partnered with Alzheimer’s Society to make its services as dementia friendly as possible.

By 2025, it’s estimated that one million people will be living with dementia in the UK. It’s not just an issue for those living with the condition either, because it impacts carers and family members too.

That’s why organisations have to do more to make their services and products as dementia friendly as possible, stresses Charlotte Matier, Director of Development, Alzheimer’s Society.

Take banking, for example. “This is one of the biggest challenges facing people affected by dementia, because they are concerned about losing their financial independence,” says Matier. “They worry about using cash machines and having to deal with different automated tasks or remembering their PIN and security questions. Plus, they are more vulnerable to fraud because they may be less able to judge if a message they receive is a scam.”

So, in 2019, in an effort to become more dementia friendly, Santander formed a partnership with Alzheimer’s Society. This has spawned various initiatives, including the Santander Dementia Steering Group — made up of people affected by dementia — who review Santander’s processes and products; a roster of Santander colleagues who volunteer their time to make Companion Calls to to people affected by dementia for a chat and to check on their wellbeing; and a fundraising drive which has raised over £1.5 million.

Being part of the Santander Dementia Steering Group is empowering for those of us who have dementia. We can have a voice and make changes for the better. Hopefully what we are achieving alongside Santander will in turn help lots of others.’

Tracey, a member of the steering group who is living with dementia

Embedding dementia awareness into a business 

When embarking on a strategic partnership such as this, it’s vital to involve all members of an organisation — from junior team members to senior leadership — from the very start of the process. “Colleagues across the bank had the opportunity to vote on who our charity partner should be,” explains Fermín Martínez de Hurtado Yela, Sustainability Strategy Manager, Santander UK. “It was a good way to get everyone’s engagement from the beginning.”

Once the partnership was formalised, it aimed to deliver mutual benefits for both organisations. “That’s why two colleagues from Alzheimer’s Society have been seconded to our organisation,” explains Martínez de Hurtado Yela. “They are able to leverage our knowledge — and we are able to leverage theirs, ensuring strategic alignment to deliver on a common ambition.”

Dementia awareness to empower colleagues 

The bank has also invited colleagues to join Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme, an initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia aiming to transform the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about the condition. This has been taken up by 54% of colleagues. “There is still stigma surrounding dementia,” says Matier. “Awareness helps employees understand more about the condition – what it is and what it is not – meaning they are much better placed to support customers affected by it.”

The Santander Dementia Steering Group uses their lived experience to review the bank’s products and services to make sure they are dementia friendly. An example of this is making the cash machines experience more dementia friendly through use of accessible colours, language and sequencing as well as launching a Carers Card Account, so a carer can have their own card and PIN to help with shopping, getting cash and paying bills.

During Dementia Action Week in May, the bank also launched an external campaign encouraging customers to inform the bank of their dementia diagnosis, to ensure they are accessing support and suitable products, and supported Alzheimer’s Society’s petition to urge the Government to reform social care, and supported Alzheimer’s Society’s petition to urge the Government to reform social care, and supported Alzheimer’s Society’s petition to urge the Government to reform social care [repeated sentence, delete]. 

Dementia awareness and support is now part of the bank’s culture. “One of the strengths of our partnership is that it has delivered holistic outcomes, not simply single solutions to individual challenges,” says Martínez de Hurtado Yela. “The feedback we’ve had from colleagues is that customers and colleagues affected by dementia have responded very positively to it.” 

For information about the dementia-friendly banking initiatives access santander.co.uk/personal/support/supported-banking/dementia

To get support and advice about dementia please contact Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Connect support line (0333 150 3456) or visit alzheimers.org.uk. More information about how to take part in our fundraising activities like Memory Walk is also available on our website.

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