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Media Release

St.George Bank in Port Macquarie to become Australia’s first dementia friendly branch

20 June 2017

In an Australian first, St.George Bank’s Port Macquarie branch will be able to recognise, respond and make banking easier for local customers living with dementia.

St.George Bank has partnered with Alzheimer’s Australia so that the local branch can be officially qualified to assist people living with dementia and their families, with their banking needs.

Branch Manager at St.George Port Macquarie, Karen Hales says the program which launches in their branch this week will mean her team of bankers will be among the first in the nation to be officially accredited by Alzheimers Australia.

“We’re so proud to be the nation’s first branch to begin this program, because while we of course care deeply about all our customers, we are particularly connected with older community members who have banked with and trusted us for years.”

Starting this week staff at Port Macquarie branch will be working along-side Alzheimers Australia for their official accreditation, which means they will then be able to help seniors with things like setting up notifications, direct debits, different account types, withdrawal limits and alternative contacts.

“Becoming dementia-friendly is simply the right thing to do for our elderly customers so that they can access financial services and we can help them remain independent for as long as possible.”

“It’s an increasingly wide ranging issue among our community and as we work towards our official accreditation, we’ll be helping senior community members establish important safe-guards - like recognising when to start or update a will, or appoint an enduring power of attorney - all while they are still able to make these important decisions.”

Gary Thomas, Regional Manager North Coast from Alzheimers Australia NSW says there are more than 413,000 Australians living with dementia and this number is predicted to grow to 536,164 by 2025.

Dementia is the term used to describe the symptoms of a large group of illnesses which cause a progressive decline in a person’s functioning. There are many types of dementia including Alzheimer’s disease, and although it can happen to anybody, it is more common after the age of 65.

“While there is no cure in the horizon there are a number of strategies that can be put in place to minimise the impact for both the person with dementia, their family and the community – and assistance with financial services is extremely high on that list,” adds Mr Thomas.

Media Contact:
Penny Mahon, Media Manager, St.George Bank – 0434 185 590