River Valley trains employees in dementia-friendly customer service

WAUSAU, Wis. — River Valley Bank staff members recently completed training to make their customer-service approach dementia friendly. Financial specialists, home lenders and Customer Experience Center team members, among others, were trained on dementia friendly practices in all 15 River Valley Bank locations. The training equips employees with the skills needed to identify customers who may be struggling with memory loss, then address the situation with expertise and sensitivity, a press release states. The ultimate goal is to help the customer determine how to best manage their finances.

River Valley Bank Senior Administrative Assistant Rhonda Lewis championed for a company-wide rollout of the program after a training session with the Dementia Friendly Middleton Coalition.

“My father struggled with his memory loss in public settings,” Lewis said in the release. “It is critical to assist an individual in maintaining their dignity and individualism where possible.”

Difficulty managing finances can be an early sign of dementia.

“Dementia friendly practices help to maintain our customers’ independence while protecting them from potential problems such as unpaid expenses, squandered resources or financial abuse,” Lewis added. In addition to learning about the signs of dementia, the staff acquired skills for helping people who may be confused. Simple tactics such as speaking slowly and clearly, making eye contact and taking long pauses can make a difference.

River Valley Bank will maintain their dementia friendly status with quarterly training sessions for new employees.

River Valley Bank is a financial institution headquartered in Wausau, Wisconsin.

With 15 branches in Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, River Valley has roughly $1.3 billion in assets.