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  • Writer's pictureJada Poku

How banks may catch signs of dementia before the doctors do


We explore how banks can use customer data to catch early signs of dementia. By analysing changes in spending patterns, communication patterns, and geolocation data, banks may be able to identify potential customers who need further evaluation. While this is not a replacement for traditional diagnostic methods, it should be seen as a complementary approach that can help identify people who may need further evaluation. It will be important for banks and healthcare providers to work together to develop a collaborative approach to dementia diagnosis. By leveraging the power of data, we can improve outcomes for people with dementia and develop more effective methods of detecting and treating this condition.


We explore how banks can use customer data to catch early signs of dementia. Banks can identify potential customers who need further evaluation by analysing spending, communication, and geolocation patterns. Learn how banks and healthcare providers can collaborate to develop more effective methods of detecting and treating dementia.





As the population ages, dementia is becoming an increasingly prevalent concern. In the UK alone, there are currently 850,000 people living with dementia, with this number projected to rise to over 1 million by 2025. One significant challenge with dementia is that it can be difficult to diagnose until it is already advanced. According to the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, banks may be uniquely positioned to catch early signs of dementia before doctors do. In this article, we'll explore how this is possible and what it means for the future of dementia diagnosis.


Dementia is a term used to describe a group of symptoms that affect memory, thinking, and social abilities severely enough to interfere with daily life. Because dementia can develop gradually over several years, it can be challenging to detect in its early stages.


What is Dementia?

Dementia is a broad term encompassing several types, including Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, and Lewy body dementia. These conditions affect different parts of the brain and have other symptoms, but they all involve the loss of cognitive function. The most common symptoms of dementia include:

  • Memory loss

  • Difficulty communicating

  • Difficulty with complex tasks

  • Poor judgment

  • Personality changes

  • Difficulty with spatial awareness



Challenges of Diagnosing Dementia

One of the biggest challenges with diagnosing dementia is that it can be challenging to detect in its early stages. In some cases, people may not even realise that they are experiencing symptoms until the disease has progressed significantly. Additionally, many of the symptoms of dementia can also be attributed to other conditions, making it difficult to pinpoint the cause of the symptoms.


Another challenge with a dementia diagnosis is that the traditional diagnostic process involves several different tests and evaluations. Doctors and other healthcare professionals typically conduct these evaluations and may involve cognitive tests, physical exams, and brain imaging tests. While these tests can effectively diagnose dementia, they can be time-consuming, and many people experiencing dementia may deny their symptoms and delay examination.



Banks: An Unlikely Source of Dementia Detection

While banks may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of dementia detection, recent studies have shown that they may be uniquely positioned to identify early signs of the disease. Banks have access to a wealth of customer data, including their financial transactions, communication patterns, and even their geographical location.



How Banks Can Help Identify Early Signs of Dementia

Banks can help identify early signs of dementia in several ways. One way is by analysing changes in spending patterns, as demonstrated in the University of Exeter study. Banks can use machine learning algorithms to detect unusual spending patterns and flag them for further investigation.


Banks can also help detect early signs of dementia by monitoring communication patterns. For example, if a customer starts making repeated inquiries about the same transaction or forgets essential account details, it could be a sign of cognitive decline. Banks can use these communication patterns to identify potential customers needing further evaluation.


In addition, banks can also use geolocation data to identify changes in a customer's daily routine. If a customer starts making transactions in an unusual location or at unusual times, it could be a sign that something is amiss.


Open banking refers to the practice of sharing financial data electronically between different financial institutions and third-party providers, with the aim of creating more competition and innovation in the financial industry. This approach to banking could have potential implications for detecting dementia, as it would allow for the collection and analysis of more comprehensive data on an individual's financial activity. By using advanced data analytics and machine learning algorithms, patterns and changes in spending habits and financial activity could be detected and flagged as potential signs of dementia. This could lead to earlier diagnosis and intervention, which may improve outcomes for individuals with dementia and their families.


The Future of Dementia Diagnosis: A Collaborative Effort

While banks can play a significant role in identifying early signs of dementia, it is essential to note that this is not a replacement for traditional diagnostic methods. Instead, it should be seen as a complementary approach to help identify people needing further evaluation.


Going forward, it will be necessary for banks and healthcare providers to work together to develop a collaborative approach to dementia diagnosis. By combining the data and expertise of both industries, we can develop more effective and accessible methods of detecting and treating dementia.



Ethical Considerations and Privacy Concerns

While the idea of banks monitoring their customers for signs of dementia may seem invasive, it is important to note that this data can only be used for diagnostic purposes with the customer's consent. Additionally, banks must adhere to strict privacy laws that govern how they collect, store, and use customer data.


As with any new technology or approach, it is important to consider the potential ethical implications and ensure that the benefits outweigh the risks.


Dementia is a growing concern, and early detection is critical for improving outcomes and providing appropriate care. While traditional diagnostic methods can be effective, they are often expensive and time-consuming, making them inaccessible to many people. Banks may be uniquely positioned to identify early signs of dementia, thanks to the wealth of data they collect about their customers. By working with healthcare providers, we can develop more effective and accessible methods of detecting and treating dementia. Did this surprise you? Leave a comment down below!





Can banks diagnose dementia?

While banks cannot diagnose dementia, they may be able to identify early signs of the disease by analysing changes in spending patterns, communication patterns, and geolocation data.


Is it ethical for banks to monitor their customers for signs of dementia?

Banks must adhere to strict privacy laws and can only use customer data for diagnostic purposes with the customer's consent. As with any new technology or approach, it is essential to consider the potential ethical implications.


Can banks replace traditional diagnostic methods for dementia?

No, banks cannot replace traditional diagnostic methods for dementia. Instead, they should be seen as a complementary approach to help identify people needing further evaluation.


What is the benefit of identifying early signs of dementia?

Identifying early signs of dementia can help improve outcomes and provide appropriate care. It can also allow people to plan for their future and make necessary adjustments before their cognitive function declines further.


How can banks and healthcare providers work together to improve dementia diagnosis?

By combining the data and expertise of both industries, we can develop more effective and accessible methods of detecting and treating dementia. This may involve developing new technologies, improving access to diagnostic tests, and promoting collaboration between banks and healthcare providers.

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