Westpac has become New Zealand's first dementia-friendly bank, earning the Alzheimers New Zealand Dementia-Friendly Award.
The award recognises organisations that take significant steps to improve access to services for those with dementia.
To achieve the award and dementia-friendly status, organisations must meet selected criteria across seven standards that form the Dementia-Friendly Recognition Programme.
The award will be presented in Westpac's flagship Queen Street branch today by Champion for Dementia Colin Mathura-Jeffree, coinciding with the national launch of the programme.
Westpac CEO David McLean says creating a truly dementia-friendly environment goes beyond providing products and services that make it easier for people with dementia to manage their affairs.
"Even something like simplifying a branch's layout or décor can make a real difference to someone living with dementia."
Mr McLean says involving people with dementia, and support groups including Alzheimers New Zealand, in the development of the bank's dementia-friendly programme has enabled the bank to build valuable learning resources which Westpac is happy to share with other businesses to help make New Zealand more dementia friendly.
Alzheimers NZ Chief Executive, Catherine Hall, celebrates Westpac's success, noting their achievement illustrates the programme can work in any business environment.
"With Westpac achieving a nationwide Dementia-Friendly Award, alongside Fergusson Retirement Village in Wellington, we show others that programme standards can be implemented across diverse business contexts.
"Those affected by dementia are living longer with increasing independence, with figures set to almost triple to 170,000 by 2050. Today's programme launch encourages collective commitment from organisations that provides practical support to those affected.
"We cannot ignore this growing population in our communities, and praise organisations who are part of our journey towards a dementia-friendly New Zealand."