Banking with dementia: Jeff's story

Banking with dementia: Jeff's story

It's World Alzheimer's Day as the only dementia friendly bank in New Zealand, Westpac is helping to break down the stigma for people living with dementia.

Howick couple Jeff and Doreen Attwood have been Westpac customers for more than 30 years.

When Jeff was diagnosed with vascular dementia 21 years ago he continued to run his electrical contracting business with the support of the bank. Two years later he made the decision to stop work to take care of things on the home front while his wife Doreen went back to teaching.

“Jeff took over the family banking when I went back to work and the team has always made him and our dog Daisy feel very welcome, which has helped him retain his independence,” says Doreen.

A passionate car man, Jeff has bought and restored two Morris Minor cars in his home garage since his diagnosis and travels the length of the country with Doreen each year as part of an annual Morris Minor owners’ road trip, popping into Westpac branches along the way.

“We asked the Howick branch to put a notification on our account so that when we travel around the country other branches know about his needs.

“Since then we’ve really noticed the difference with other branches being much more considerate and helpful to us.” says Doreen.

“Whenever Jeff sees a big red W now he just feels welcome. People living with dementia can still do so much. I applaud Westpac for understanding this.”

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