Due to UK bank and post office closures, local shops have a more central role in ensuring that older adults have continued, secure access to cash via face-to-face services offering card payments and cashback. Staff, managers and proprietors need to be aware of legal obligations to accept customers’ chip and signature cards, which support some people with dementia to access their finances. Other countries may need to make legal provisions to ensure financial services and retailers do not discriminate against people with disabilities regarding payment methods and access to cash.
Explanation and Examples
Cash can be a preferred option among people of all ages – including some older adults with dementia – who prefer to retain visual control over their spend. Bank and post office closures have occurred across the UK, affecting particularly people in rural areas, who may now face increased travel distances to reach a branch.
Technologies (ATMs and chip and PIN devices) are therefore becoming less avoidable in the process of accessing cash, however, can present problems for people living with dementia. A case study of 13 rurally dwelling older adults in the UK with mild dementia gathered data from in home interviews involving two structured questionnaires, observations, maps, and subsequent relevant document collation (i.e. public transport timetables, local news reports).
The importance of local grocery shops and supermarkets in providing a trusted, face-to-face option for accessing cash was highlighted, particularly among cases who lived alone. Subsequent document analysis found some retailers were unaware of legal obligations to accept chip and signature cards leading to occasional refusals.
Raising retailer awareness of the importance of card payment options rurally, and obligations to accept signature cards, could support people living with dementia to continue independently accessing their finances locally.
ThemesActivities of daily living Everyday life Everyday technology Rural Services
Target groupsDementia-friendly communities Government Service providers: retail, transport, finance Voluntary services
Type of evidence
Case study of 13 rurally dwelling older adults with mild dementia in England.
Wallcook, S. (2021) Conditions of Everyday Technology Use and its Interplay in the Lives of Older Adults with and without Dementia. (PhD thesis) Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm. https://openarchive.ki.se/xmlui/handle/10616/47651