Improving Client Service for Individuals with Dementia: Training Tips for Financial Institutions

Dementia and Money Management Skills Decline



It's clear why Dementia Friendly Initiatives are focusing on the financial sector and educating families about the impact of declining decision-making skills associated with dementia. 

A recent article in the New York Times by Ben Cassleman highlights that decision-making abilities often decline long before a formal dementia diagnosis, particularly in managing finances, leading to missed payments, poor financial decisions and susceptibility to scams and fraud. 

The implications of declining decision-making skills extend as dementia progresses, leaving individuals financially vulnerable. It's crucial for families to be proactive in recognizing signs of decline and offering support to mitigate potential risks.  

People living alone are at even greater risk, especially those with little or no family or friend support. An excellent guide developed the Administration for Community Living (ACL), National Alzheimer's and Dementia Resource Center and RTI International is an excellent resource: Handbook for Helping People Living Alone with Dementia with No Known Support. 

It is essential to enhance awareness, education, and training across the financial sector. Training should be provided to those who directly interact with consumers to recognize signs of impaired cognitive functioning and take necessary legal steps to safeguard their clients and institutions. This includes individuals handling phone calls, responding to emails, as well as bankers, financial planners, and insurance professionals meeting clients in person. Adequate training for all personnel will help bridge gaps and minimize errors.  Key initiatives include:

1. Developing Awareness: Initiate training programs to educate employees about the signs and symptoms of dementia. This will enable them to identify and understand the cognitive challenges faced by clients. 

2. Communication Strategies: Implement communication training to teach employees how to effectively interact with individuals experiencing cognitive impairment. This includes clear, simple language and patience during client interactions. 

3. Legal Knowledge: Ensure employees are equipped with the legal knowledge necessary to protect clients. Provide comprehensive training on the legal steps that need to be taken to safeguard the interests of clients with impaired cognitive functioning. 

4. Empathy and Sensitivity: Train employees to approach clients with empathy and sensitivity, understanding the challenges they may face due to dementia. This can improve client satisfaction and build trust.

 5. Ongoing Education: Establish continuous education programs to keep employees updated on best practices and new developments in serving clients with dementia. By implementing these training tips, financial institutions can bridge gaps and reduce mishaps when handling clients with dementia, ultimately providing better service and support.

Engaging in impulsive spending behavior due to cognitive decline can lead to financial instability, making it essential for financial institutions to be equipped to support clients with dementia effectively.

To find out how AGE-u-cate Training Institute assists in implementation and sustainability training for the financial sector, reach out today to book a free consultation. 

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