Managing money is a significant challenge for people with dementia, with 89 per cent of those affected experiencing difficulties on a daily basis. This struggle with finances also leads to a great deal of stress and worry for almost half of people living with dementia.
There are currently around 900,000 people with dementia in the UK, and this number is projected to rise to 1.6 million by 2040. Yet research also shows that more could be done to help people living with dementia to manage their money safely.
As well as physical symptoms, many people with dementia can become confused, leaving them vulnerable to being scammed, losing cash or cards, giving money away inappropriately, or over-buying.
Typically, in the absence of a suitable solution, often the only choice for those living with dementia is to limit or remove access to their finances, which severely limits their independence and ability to enjoy everyday activities.
Sibstar is the UK’s first debit card and app designed to help people living with dementia and their families to safely manage everyday spending. It is the brainchild of Jayne Sibley, whose parents are both living with dementia.
Over the last nine months, the product has been piloted by 65 people in the UK who are affected by dementia and their families. Its official launch is backed by partners Alzheimer’s Society and Mastercard.
How Sibstar works
The Mastercard debit card comes with a pre-loaded balance, followed by a seamless integration with the Sibstar mobile app, compatible with both iPhone and Android devices.
Through the app, users can customise their spending preferences, utilising features such as spend limits, ATM and online transactions, instant freeze, and real-time notifications.
Users can tailor and scale the app’s solution to their changing needs, thanks to its flexible configuration that also enables them to easily toggle each function. Sibstar also allows remote and instant adjustments to money management controls.
Sibstar’s aim is to help people living with dementia manage and access their own money more safely, reducing their financially vulnerability, which means they can remain independent and live life the way they choose.
Kelly Devine, divisional president, Mastercard UK & Ireland, said: “At Mastercard we believe everyone should have access to financial services in a way that works for them, whatever their needs may be. Innovations in technology are making it more and more possible to build tailored products and tools for specific needs, and Sibstar is evidence of this.
“We are delighted to be working with Jayne and the team at Sibstar on this much needed solution to make financial independence a reality for those living with dementia.”
While Colin Capper, associate director of evidence and involvement at Alzheimer’s Society, added: “Too many people living with dementia face barriers in using financial services, leaving them with a loss of independence and vulnerable to scams. Alzheimer’s Society is working to make the financial sector more dementia-friendly, as well as raise awareness of the challenges involved.
“We are delighted to have supported Sibstar through our Accelerator Programme, which funds innovations and inventions that we believe can change the lives of people affected by dementia.”
“One of the things about dementia is that everyone with dementia has completely different needs,” explains Jayne. “So, we’ve built an onboarding process that addresses all of those different needs.
“As mum’s condition progressed, she started to mismanage her money. It meant she couldn’t really understand the value of money. She was overspending on food or other things she didn’t need; she’d take out money from a cashpoint and give it all away or even treat everyone to their nails at the nail bar. All of that money that she worked hard for all their lives was just disappearing.
“We tried lots of different solutions, but nothing worked. So that’s when we came up with the idea for Sibstar, which was a way for people living with dementia to remain financially independent while knowing their money is safe.
“Sibstar has been received really well and our customers are happy, which is what we set out to achieve. People tell us that we’re giving them peace of mind and allowing themselves or their family members to have more independence, so are all very supportive of what we’re trying to achieve.”