Home » Pensions and Finance » Partnering to help make businesses dementia friendly

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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Home » Pensions and Finance » Partnering to help make businesses dementia friendly

Tony Clark

Senior Propositions Manager, St. James’s Place Wealth Management

As you make your way through your later life, you may question if you are as prepared as you could be for retirement. This could mean reimagining what retirement really means to you.

There’s a great deal to think about when it comes to retirement – how long do you want to keep working? Have you saved enough? Do you want to completely retire or gradually ease into semi-retirement first? Fundamentally though, it’s a question of what you want the next stage of your life to be like. 

It can also be a complex and challenging time both emotionally and financially. Not least of which is the fact that retirement will look and feel very different to previous generations, so we don’t really have a template to work from anymore. Crucially, the time spent in retirement is likely to last for a very long time, possibly 30 years or more. 

This is where engaging with ongoing financial advice can add real value; on one hand helping you to imagine the bigger picture and realise your plans and on the other navigating the myriad decisions that you will face along the way to achieving your dreams.  

So, what are the factors that you need to have in mind, and how can advice help? 

Creating retirement income 

Whilst this may sound straight forward enough, what works for one person may not be the right solution for another. There are many ways to generate retirement income, but the challenge is ensuring it is sustainable, whilst at the same time managing and maintaining (hopefully growing) your remaining capital for the rest of your life.  

There is now a trend to easing into retirement, gradually shifting the work/life balance over a number of years rather than the hard stop of previous generations. This means understanding how to make the most tax efficient use of your retirement assets (which could include other investments and savings alongside your pensions) and in which order. 

A financial adviser can work with you to map out your cashflow requirements based around your short, medium and longer-term goals, allowing for external economic shocks whilst incorporating your views and capacity for risk. 

There is now a trend to easing into retirement, gradually shifting the work/life balance over a number of years.

Social care planning 

As we are all living much longer lives on average, there is an increasing likelihood that some of us will experience a need for social care, either for our elderly loved ones, or a future need for ourselves.  

Unless we see any drastic legislative changes, the sobering fact is that most of us will have to pay for some or all of our social care. This is one of the last financial taboos, a problem that all too often gets kicked into the long grass.  

There isn’t a simple answer to this other than to meet it head on, utilising financial advice to build into your longer term later life financial planning so you can mitigate having to make difficult choices at an emotionally raw time.

Estate planning and transferring wealth across generations 

How we pass on our wealth once we have died, or even what we might do in the event of receiving an inheritance needs careful planning, as this can be somewhat of a minefield and mistakes can be expensive. 

As an integral part of later life financial planning, estate planning and intergenerational wealth transfer permeates into how you might use your pensions, what assets fall in or out of your estate and how you use your various tax allowances. This means having a financial roadmap to provide clarity for you and your loved ones. 

All of this lies ahead and needs careful attention; the value of advice as we get older is found in providing peace of mind as our circumstances change, so that you can focus on what really matters most to you. 

At St. James’s Place, our focus is on building relationships with our clients over time, helping you achieve your goals through financial wellbeing

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