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Prevention: confident consumers and avoiding scams

Support residents and carers to live well with Dementia

450,000 awarded for new scheme to protect people with dementia

A new initiative has been launched in East Renfrewshire to protect residents living with dementia from predatory financial fraudsters.

£450,000 has been awarded to our Prevention Team to work in collaboration with Angus and South Ayrshire Council, to develop a preventative approach to protect people with dementia from financial exploitation.

People living with dementia are at great risk of falling prey to scammers and carers are often very worried about how to prevent their relative becoming a victim of a scam, particularly in the early stages of dementia when a person still has capacity but may not always have sufficient understanding to exercise good judgement.

The aim of this project is to offer people with dementia an individualised, person-centred package to safeguard them from financial exploitation, on the doorstep, by telephone, by mail or online.

Each local authority area will bring together local and national organisations to develop and deliver a package of preventive measures, including practical solutions and various types of useful technology, for example, call blockers. Call blockers screen incoming phone calls and either block any unknown or unauthorised numbers or transfer them to a nominated family member or guardian.

Within East Renfrewshire, we offer residents living with dementia a prevention assessment which identify areas where prevention work would empower the resident to lead a more confident and independent life, and a free of charge call blocker. Dan Pettigrew, Prevention Officer, completes the assessment, working closely with residents and their families to focus on areas of doorstep crime, nuisance calls, scam and junk mail, telecare equipment and social isolation, all of which have links to residents being scammed. Using both technology (e.g. telecare equipment and call blockers) and close partnership working (e.g. referral to voluntary action for participation at social groups, or for an further assessment for homecare/personal care assistance), East Renfrewshire Council endeavour to reduce the likelihood of our residents living with dementia being scammed. Dan Pettigrew can be reached at Daniel.pettigrew@eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk or alternatively on his East Renfrewshire Council mobile number 07387233680 between (8.45am-4.45pm Mon-Thurs, and 8.45am-3.55pm Fri).

The three authorities involved in this project are passionately committed to empowering and protecting residents living with dementia from predatory fraudsters. It's hard to believe that people would be so callous as to target this group directly, but sadly it happens and the consequences for the person and their family are often devastating. Thanks to funding from the Life Changes Trust, we can proactively identify residents at risk and introduce practical solutions to stop unwanted nuisance and scam telephone, mail, internet and doorstep contacts.
Paul Holland - Principal Prevention Officer and Co-ordinator of Project

Figures issued by Citizen's Advice in 2014 showed that the most common type of scam takes place via telephone (34%), almost a quarter took place on the internet (24%), 16% came through letters and one in ten scams were via email. Other types of scam include face-to-face visits, i.e. doorstep crime.

Funding for the project has come from the Life Changes Trust, an independent charity set up with a Big Lottery Fund endowment of £50 million to improve the lives of two key groups in Scotland: people affected by dementia and care experienced young people.

Many people who are living well and independently with dementia can sometimes become anxious and confused if they are subjected to a barrage of calls, letters and emails that prey on their fears and pressurise them to part with money.
All three areas of East Renfrewshire, Angus and South Ayrshire have already begun work on protecting people with dementia from this type of financial abuse and our funding will help put in place robust measures that will help freeze these financial fraudsters out. People with dementia deserve every opportunity to live safely and happily at home for as long as possible without fear of intimidation or exploitation in their own homes.
Anna Buchanan - Director of the Life Changes Trust Dementia Programme

If the scheme is successful, a good practice model will be developed which can be rolled out across Scotland.

For more information on our Prevention team, visit the Prevention Team section or call the team on 0141 577 3782.


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