In 2015, Westpac became New Zealand’s first dementia-friendly bank, to support the two out of three Kiwis affected by dementia. We're proud to be officially accredited for our efforts by Alzheimer's New Zealand.
We're proud to be New Zealand's first dementia friendly bank. Our aim is to help people with dementia to plan ahead, access financial services and get help to remain independent for as long as possible. Our employees have been trained to help recognise, understand and respond to the needs of customers living with dementia and we've also put together resources that we're happy to share with other organisations who want to become dementia friendly too.
If you or someone you love is living with dementia please talk to us and together we’ll help you put a plan into place for your banking.
Our staff have been trained to assist people living with dementia and their families, with their banking needs. We can help with things like setting up notifications, direct debits, different account types, withdrawal limits and alternative contacts. Check out our resources for more information on managing your finances after a diagnosis and how to spot signs of financial abuse.
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We’ve created a special notification tool so carers and people living with dementia can let us know about their situation. The notification tool adds an alert to the customers account, enabling our staff to provide extra assistance if required. We’re also partnering with different organisations that can provide professional advice and guidance to customers and their families.
All of our branches have been assessed to ensure they are dementia friendly in terms of layout, fixtures and fittings and quiet areas. Our architects apply dementia friendly principles for every new branch we create, and older branches that don’t meet these criteria will be modified as much as practicable to be more dementia friendly.
We're proud to be New Zealand's first Dementia friendly bank
We want other organisations to become dementia friendly too, that's why we partnered with Alzheimer’s Auckland to create materials that we could share - brochures, checklists, training videos and modules. We're happy to share our resources and learnings with other organisations who want to become dementia friendly, which was one of the reasons we received a Deloitte Diversity Award in 2015.
Feel free to use these for your own organisation and tailor them to your own purposes as needed.
Westpac is piloting a national dementia-friendly accreditation in association with Dementia Auckland. The accreditation specifically involves ensuring our physical environment has a clear layout with signs, displays and lighting to support independent navigation and quiet spaces to have conversations without distractions. It’s also about ensuring our front line teams are skilled to assist our customers and their carers where needed.
The number of New Zealanders with dementia is expected to triple to nearly 150,000 over the next 30 years. Alzheimer's disease progressively affects thinking abilities, producing profound functional impairment, loss of independence and significant health care needs. The physical and emotional strains placed on individuals and family/ whānau are immense. If we could delay dementia onset by five years, this would reduce dementia prevalence by 50%.
Researchers at the University of Auckland are working to combat this and established New Zealand’s first Dementia Prevention Research Clinic in 2015. Two more Dementia Prevention Research Clinics will be established in Christchurch and Dunedin in 2017. A key aim of the clinics is to identify biomarkers that predict which individuals will progress to dementia, and to identify factors that influence rate of progression. You can support the clinic by donating here. Your donation will greatly assist the Centre for Brain Research’s work on combatting dementia prevalence.