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Jayne Sibley on her journey to create Sibstar (Guest blog)

Posted by Natasha Morgan (Admin) 4 months ago Posted in Accelerator

My journey with dementia started about 15 years ago, when my Dad started showing signs of dementia, he was later diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2011 and now lives in a nursing home.  Seven years later my mum was also diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She lives at home with help from me and my brother.

                                                       Jayne and her mum

There have been lots of challenges in caring for my Mum and Dad, but by far the hardest has been helping them manage their day-to-day spending securely. 

It’s this experience which inspired Sibstar - a new debit card and phone App which helps people with dementia safely manage their everyday spending.

So, as my Mum’s condition progressed, she got very confused by money.  Mum started over spending on groceries and things she didn’t need, making countless cashpoint withdrawals then losing the money, she fell victim to so many scams over the phone and gave a lot of money away to people on the street.  The money she and Dad had worked hard for all their lives was just disappearing in ways it would not have if they had they not been living with dementia. 

Despite trying everything to protect Mum’s everyday spending so that she could retain her independence, there was no suitable solution. Ultimately we were left with no choice but to take away access to her own money, which immediately led to a decline in her condition. This was so hard, but we were deeply concerned if she continued to spend at the rate she was there would be no money left to pay for her higher levels of care later on. 

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 debit card, it acts like any other regular debit card.  Then the person supporting them has the Sibstar app on their phone and together they decide how and where the card can be used. 

Our purpose is to provide people with dementia a way to remain financially independent whilst keeping their money safe and secure so they can continue to live life the way they choose.

                                    Smartphone and debit card

We were delighted to be selected last year as one of the Alzheimer’s Society’s accelerator partners.

With the help of the Society’s Innovation team we have been designing and developing our product directly with people living with dementia and carers.  This is really important to us, having the people who will be using Sibstar sitting at the heart of what we do will mean we develop and launch a product which directly meets their needs. 

The App will have all sorts of specific functionality designed to help people living with dementia. Such as the ability to set daily and monthly spending limits, switch cashpoint or online and phone payments on or off, freeze and unfreeze the card, you can also receive spend notifications. These settings can be changed at anytime, so our users can adapt how they use Sibstar as their dementia changes.

Developing Sibstar has been a really exciting process but not without its challenges – with no prior experience in banking or software development I’ve had to take advice from experts and learn quickly. It’s been scary at times too, giving up my job to working full-time on Sibstar was a big commitment, so I’m determined to give it all I have to make it a success.     

Having the support of the Innovation team has been invaluable. In just a few months, we’ve moved from having an idea we believe in to a functioning product. This wouldn’t have been possible without Alzheimer’s Society.

We aim to launch in September this year. The card has a monthly subscription fee of £4.99, and you can register now to be one of the first to try it out.

For further information:

 

This post was edited on May 20, 2021 by Natasha Morgan

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Comments (1)

Jennifer Bute says... 1 month ago

I think this is an excellent idea as dementia and money do not go well together as I well know . I do hope it catches on!

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