Swansea businesses work together to protect people living with dementia

With the Alzheimer’s Society estimating that one in fourteen people over 65 have dementia, two Swansea based companies have been working together to increase awareness of the illness within the business sector. 

Gorseinon based Compass Will Writers has been providing dementia information sessions to staff at SA1 based conveyancing company Dezrezlegal, focusing on improving the skills of those that deal directly with customers.

Laura Liddell, Managing Director of Dezrezlegal, felt that it was important that conveyancing staff had this knowledge to act in the best interest of clients. She commented:

“As we usually communicate with our clients from a distance, we need to be able to identify markers that could flag up potential issues. We have had circumstances where we haven’t been confident that the client fully understood what they needed to. Or that the client was being assisted by a son or daughter yet we didn’t trust that the relative was acting in the clients’ best interest.

“We have a duty of care to the client. If we are concerned, then we will meet with the client in person before proceeding. Or if it’s not possible because of distance, we will advise them to find a conveyancer who they can sit down with.

“So we do need to know how to investigate a little more over the phone. The training made us think about how to do this in a sensitive way without causing stress.”

The training was provided by Alyson Dyer, an estate planner at Compass Will Writers. Alyson is an Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Champion and regularly holds dementia information sessions in the Swansea area. She said:

“By having more awareness of dementia we can support people much better, whether they’re close to us or people we meet as part of our work.

As well as getting people to think about the communication issues that people with dementia might have – repeating words or becoming stuck on certain sounds – it’s really important to remind everyone that there is more to the person than the dementia.”

With the Alzheimers Society estimating that dementia could rise by 40% over the next 12 years, there is a real need for businesses to consider the impact that this could have on the service industry. 

Laura Liddell added: “Legal providers for example, have previously been benchmarked as quite impersonal. Things are changing though – we need to look at how we tailor our service for different needs.  The dementia training has been really important in further highlighting how the customer needs to be at the centre of the process. We’re dealing with people not files.”

Compass Will Writers have been advising clients on estate planning matters such as wills and lasting powers of attorneys for 15 years and during this time has gained a reputation for supporting older people – this year it was commended by Age Cymru in the Small Business category.

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