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SA bank gets dementia friendly stamp

A South Australian bank has been working to support people living with dementia to remain financially independent for as long as possible.

BankSA teamed up with Dementia Australia to make banking safer, easier and more accessible for people with dementia and become the first bank in the state to be recognised as dementia friendly.

Nick Reade, chief executive of BankSA, said it’s increasingly important that customers with dementia are able to continue to manage their finances for as long as possible.

“BankSA branch teams have been trained to identify the signs of dementia and create a more comfortable experience and help reduce any stress or anxiety a customer may feel when doing their everyday banking.

“Additionally, should a customer or their carer let us know, we can identify, record and maintain the files of a customer with dementia to ensure a greater level of support.”

Branch manager Denise Brown said her division has already worked with several regular customers living with dementia to improve their banking experience.

“For example, we have a customer who started coming into the branch every week, instead of every fortnight, to collect her pension. At first we only had to gently remind her that pension day was the next week, but over the course of several months she started to become more anxious about her correct pension day and stressed that she wouldn’t be able to pay her bills.

“But one day she came in with her daughter who we subtly let know about the situation. In turn, we made arrangements with the daughter for money to be transferred into her mum’s account on a weekly basis instead of fortnightly, which helped reduce her mum’s stress,” Brown said.

From left: BankSA customer service advisor Christine Losic, chief executive Nick Reade and Dementia Australia’s regional director SA & NT, David Furniss, with the VR headsets.

Staff were also invited to use virtual reality to see the world through the eyes of a person living with dementia to highlight the potential challenges in undertaking a routine daily task.

Reade said the entire experience has given workers a greater understanding of the condition and how it can impact people.

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