OVER 100 employees at Ulster Bank have attended a workshop on understanding dementia.
The bank now has a designated ‘Dementia Friendly’ employee in each of its branches across Northern Ireland and becomes the first local financial institution in Northern Ireland to introduce the service throughout its entire network.
To deliver the workshop, eight Ulster Bank Community Champions undertook an intensive two-day training programme facilitated by the Alzheimer’s Society which aimed to give employees a better understanding of what dementia is and how it affects the estimated 20,000 people living with dementia in Northern Ireland.
The training was then condensed into a two-hour workshop which was given to the employees who now carry the Dementia Friendly accreditation.
Along with explaining the condition better, the course also highlighted how small changes in areas such as banking, can make a significant and impactful difference to the lives of people with dementia.
Managing Director, Branch Banking at Ulster Bank, Sean Murphy said: “We at Ulster Bank are committed to providing all customers with the highest standard of service possible and we recognise that this means catering for individual needs.
“A dementia diagnosis brings a number of challenges, not only to the individual but also to their families who may worry about the safety of their loved one. We realise that our customers with dementia often find it more difficult to engage in routine activities such as banking. As service providers, we are proud to work with our employees to develop a better understanding of these challenges and do what we can to make banking transactions less daunting.
“Our employees who have completed the programme now wear a Dementia Friendly badge so that they can be easily identifiable to customers who may wish to have more time to complete their transactions.
We found the experience to be extremely beneficial and are especially delighted that our Community Champions can also offer this training to other businesses and organisations in our local area.”
Dubheasa McGrinder from Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friendly Communities team said: “This initiative is equipping people with the tools to better understand dementia and teaching them that there are many, small things they can do to make life easier for people with dementia. Showing that you have an understanding of what dementia is makes a real difference to those affected by the condition and their families, especially for businesses like Ulster Bank who can help to protect vulnerable customers and make them feel secure.”