Over 100 bankers tuned in on July 8 for WBA’s Becoming a Dementia Friendly Organization webinar, a complimentary training designed to help banks across Wisconsin identify customers who may have dementia and help serve them appropriately. In 2019, 110,000 Wisconsin residents have Alzheimer’s, affecting their ability to handle finances, among many other challenges. With some training, employees at your bank can help notice the warning signs to prevent financial neglect, abuse, and exploitation. The recording for this webinar is now available, free of charge, to all WBA member banks.

Several speakers from Wisconsin organizations and banks helped WBA to put on this free webinar. Joy Schmidt, dementia care specialist at the Aging & Disability Resource Center, kicked off the presentation by describing what exactly dementia is and how it affects a person, what it means for a business to be dementia friendly, what resources a financial institution should have available, and how to communicate with customers appropriately. Bonnie Nuttkinson, programs and advocacy manager with the Alzheimer’s Association – South Central Wisconsin Chapter, went over 10 warning signs displayed by a person with dementia, as well as some key differences between Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Doreen Goetsch, adult protective services coordinator, outlined common scams and how bankers can report elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. With the help of these presenters, attendees were given knowledge on how to identify customers suffering from dementia, the do’s and don’ts of how to interact and communicate with them effectively, as well as some simple ways to transform a bank into an environment that will make it easy for customers with dementia to navigate.

A few speakers from Wisconsin banks also joined the webinar to share real-world examples of how they’ve made their banks dementia-friendly. Jeff Supple, vice president and trust officer of State Bank of Cross Plains, described the training completed during branch meetings, as well as initiatives going forward such as environmental considerations. Maureen Lokrantz, vice president and private wealth advisor of U.S. Bank chimed in with the experience of becoming dementia friendly across a big bank with many branches, specifically focusing on the story of the Dane County bank. Rhonda Lewis, executive administrative assistant of River Valley Bank, Wausau, spoke on the unique position of banks in their communities and their responsibility to protect customers with dementia from problems such as financial abuse, neglect or exploitation, as well as reiterating warning signs specific to money management and steps to implement dementia-friendly practices.

If you would like to learn how to become a dementia-friendly organization, you can get access to the free recording here to hear the experiences of Wisconsin community banks and get advice from Wisconsin dementia experts on how to transform your bank!