Rabobank supports Dementia Delta Plan

Rabobank has pledged its support for the Dementia Delta Plan, a Dutch initiative designed to alleviate the effects of dementia.

The Dutch population is ageing rapidly and the number of people with dementia in the Netherlands is expected to rise sharply in the coming years. There are currently 250,000 people suffering from the illness and this number is estimated to double by 2040. This will present great challenges for the country’s healthcare industry and informal care services. In order to find solutions for the future and improve the care and quality of life of dementia patients, several Dutch organisations have united in a public-private partnership under the name Deltaplan Dementie (Dementia Delta Plan).

On 11 September 2014, Rien Nagel of the Rabobank Executive Board and Professor of Cognitive Neurology Philip Scheltens – who also serves as Director of the Alzheimer Center at Amsterdam’s VU University Medical Center and Deputy Chairman of the Board of the Dementia Delta Plan – signed the partnership agreement under the Dementia Delta Plan.

Valuable contribution

Rabobank is making a significant contribution in joining the partnership. Rien Nagel: ‘Almost all of us have someone close to us who is living with the devastating effects of dementia. These people are extra vulnerable when it comes to their banking needs. Our bank assists people at various stages of dementia in managing their banking requirements in a secure and customer-friendly environment. This calls for tailored services and we are keen to share our knowledge and experience in providing these services to help contribute to a society that is more sympathetic and caring to people living with dementia.’

Under the partnership, seven local Rabobanks are currently participating in a series of pilot projects launched by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport as part of ‘The Elderly in Safe Hands’ (Ouderen in veilige handen) action plan. Rabobank has teamed up with other service providers – including civil-law notaries, law enforcement agencies and social work organisations – to examine how vulnerable customers can receive improved financial protection. Their shared findings have already resulted in the introduction of an internal alert code: a tool which employees can use to assess when they should call in external assistance on behalf of their customer.

Furthermore, Rabobank also developed the Banking Together (‘Samen Bankieren’) programme, which was created to support specific types of customers, including those who require assistance in managing their banking business. The bank is also in the process of developing a training course to instruct employees on how to appropriately interact with customers who are no longer able to independently manage their banking business due to dementia. The course also explains how the bank can assist customers with dementia who can no longer manage their own affairs.

Sharing knowledge and experience

There are, in fact, already initiatives in place which meet the above objectives, including the WeHelpen.nl online platform, in which Rabobank is a partner. This website connects people who require assistance or support in the form of care (primarily informal care) with those who provide such care. Rabobank recently also joined an awareness-raising campaign aimed at dementia, DementieEnDan, which resulted in useful knowledge and experiences to be shared with others.

Unique partnership

What makes the Dementia Delta Plan partnership unique is the diversity of its partners, which are drawn from many different sections of society, including government, the business community, patients’ organisations, health insurance companies, healthcare providers and the scientific community. The Dementia Delta Plan aims to reverse the effects of dementia by having the partners join forces in research, practical innovation and social innovation and to present improvements for prevention, treatment and care, which should help make society more accommodating to people with dementia. Philip Scheltens: ’The Dementia Delta Plan is aimed at current and future patients. We can only achieve our goal by having all parties work together in the realms of science and healthcare. Rabobank’s support for the Delta Plan is essential if the plan is to achieve its mission and become a success.’

The Dementia Delta Plan will require a substantial investment over the next eight years. The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and the Dutch Alzheimer Society are funding a portion of the cost, with the remainder being contributed by other organisations, funds, institutions, banks and businesses.