This article was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.
It is possible for a person with Alzheimer’s to accomplish certain simple chores, like paying the bills, but they are likely to struggle with more complex duties like balancing a checkbook. Patients may try to mask financial difficulties as the condition progresses in order to maintain their independence. You may not even be aware of the fact that you are losing your capacity to manage your finances.
It is estimated that by the year 2025, there would be 7.1 million people 65 and older with Alzheimer’s in the United States, 5.6 million of whom are now living with the condition. The estimated $233.9 billion in care provided to Alzheimer’s patients in 2018 by family members and other unpaid carers was a startling 16.2 million.
These eye-opening stats give a glimpse into the difficulties that Alzheimer’s patients face on a daily basis. So how can you assist a parent or loved one with Alzheimer’s disease in managing their finances and making critical financial decisions? Read on to find out.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Deterioration of memory and reasoning abilities progresses at a gradual pace, finally resulting in inability to do even the most basic of tasks. Symptoms of the disease typically begin to develop in middle age for persons with the late-onset form. Alzheimer’s disease that develops in its earliest stages strikes people between the ages of 30 and 60. This disease is the leading reason for elderly dementia.
Dr. Alois Alzheimer is the origin for the disease’s moniker. Doctor Alzheimer discovered abnormalities in the brain tissue of a mentally ill woman in 1906. Memory loss, linguistic difficulties, and erratic behavior were among her symptoms. A postmortem examination of her brain revealed abnormal aggregates known as amyloid plaques and knotted groupings of fibers known as neurofibrillary tangles.
Alzheimer’s disease is still associated with brain plaques and tangles like these. Loss of connections among the brain’s neurons, which communicate with each other and with muscles and organs throughout the body, is another hallmark. Complex brain changes have also been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
In the beginning, the entorhinal cortex and hippocampus are affected, as are other areas of the brain. Later, it affects parts of the brain responsible for language, logic, and social interaction. Many other parts of the brain are eventually compromised as well.
Signs an Alzheimer’s Patient May be Having Money Problems
Signs of financial troubles include difficulty paying for a goods or services, having difficulty figuring out a gratuity, balancing your checkbook, or deciphering a bank statement. – There may be a sense of apprehension or anxiety when discussing money. You can also look for:
- Unpaid and abandoned bills
- A credit card bill with a lot of new charges
- Unusual new products
- The disappearance of funds from a user’s bank account
If a family member or representative checks bank statements and other financial records each month, they should intervene if there are any severe issues. An individual’s safety can be safeguarded through this.
Develop Your Money Management Strategies Early
While there is not precise method to forecast Alzheimer’s, yet cognitive decline is still a normal aspect of ageing. You must begin planning for the future of your loved ones as soon as they reach middle age.
They should begin by outlining their immediate financial needs as well as long-term financial plans and aspirations for the following few years. You should also learn about their financial plans, including their assets, bills, debt, and charitable contributions. In the event of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis or serious cognitive loss as a result of aging, having these conversations and developing action plans while mental capacity is still sound will ensure you are well-equipped to provide a hand.
Take Things One Step at a Time
Alzheimer’s sufferers face one of the most difficult challenges: the gradual loss of autonomy. Alzheimer’s sufferers may benefit from giving financial responsibility to loved ones, even if they wish to retain their independence and decision-making capacity.
By coordinating their level of control and influence with a patient’s gradual progression of symptoms, caregivers can alleviate this tough process. Visit BetterHelp to learn more about the toll being a caregiver can take on someone, and what you can do to lessen the strain.
In the early phases of a diagnosis, for example, you may not need to invoke a Power of Attorney and relinquish all authority. Instead, you can begin to adopt a more active role by analyzing accounts and paying bills together, assisting them in balancing their checkbook, and providing them cash rather than a credit card.
This strategy allows your loved one to maintain their sense of freedom while also guaranteeing that you are always aware of what is going on. Your involvement and influence in their financial affairs can undoubtedly grow as symptoms advance and previously simple financial tasks become practically impossible.
Keep an Eye Out for Fraud
It is no secret that those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive impairment are a popular target for scammers. As you play a more active participation role in assisting a loved one with Alzheimer’s handle their finances, keep an eye out for incidents of financial fraud. Double payments, unnecessary subscriptions, and unusual withdrawals are all common red flags.
As a caretaker for someone with dementia, simple measures like limiting credit card use, establishing automatic payments, and evaluating credit reports on a regular basis can go a long way toward keeping your loved ones safe and secure as their cognitive decline unfolds.
Don’t Overlook Your Own Objectives
While tending to a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or significant cognitive decline is admirable, it’s crucial to acknowledge the strain it can put on the caregiver.
Per the Alzheimer’s Association, those who care for someone with dementia experience emotional, financial, and physical challenges twice as frequently as those who care for persons who do not have dementia. Furthermore, many carers must reduce their job hours and delve into their retirement savings in order to offer the necessary degree of care.
There are insurance solutions and other resources and support outlets available to help ease the burden, but caregivers must not lose focus of their own financial goals along the way. This could jeopardize retirement savings and other long-term objectives.