Jayne Sibley in Southampton tells us how her parents’ dementia inspired a new debit card and phone app to help people safely manage their everyday spending.
My dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia in 2011, and seven years later my mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
There have been lots of challenges, but by far the hardest has been keeping my parents’ day-to-day spending under control and secure.
To help solve this, with support from Alzheimer’s Society, we’ve launched Sibstar – a debit card and app that other people affected by dementia and facing the same challenge as us can soon benefit from as well.
As Mum’s condition progressed, she started spending more on groceries than I did, and I’ve got a family of four!
She made countless cashpoint withdrawals, writing cheques to charities and taking out duplicate insurance policies on the washing machine. She was really vulnerable to phone and doorstep salespeople.
And then she started giving away cash to homeless people. My mum is a kind-hearted, generous lady, but there was no way she could sustain this level of spending and giving.
We tried everything to protect Mum’s everyday spending while keeping her independence. We asked the bank to set withdrawal and spend limits on her card.
We scratched out the code on the back of her card, but she’d lose it and the bank would send her a new one. Taking away her cheque book and going cash only was a complete disaster.
This all resulted in us having to take away her access to her own money, which immediately led to a decline in her condition.
We needed a way to keep Mum financially independent but financially secure as well, and that’s where the idea for Sibstar came from.
Sibstar is a highly secure debit card and app for people with dementia and their families.
The person with dementia has the Sibstar card, which acts like any other debit card. The person supporting them has the Sibstar app on their phone, and together they decide how and where the card can be used.
You can set daily spending limits, switch cashpoint or online payments on or off, and freeze and unfreeze the card. You can also receive spend notifications.
This can all be changed at any time, so you can adapt how you use Sibstar as the person’s dementia changes.
We aim to provide people who have dementia with a way to remain financially independent whilst keeping their money safe and secure.
Alzheimer’s Society’s investment in Sibstar, through its Accelerator Programme, has been invaluable. It’s enabling us to get it to market more quickly.
The card has a monthly subscription fee of £4.99, and people can register now to be one of the first to try it out.
Try out Sibstar
Register your interest now to get access to Sibstar when it launches in September 2021