With so many shopping transactions and money transfers occurring during the holidays, it’s easy to lose track of finances a bit this time of year, but older adults who have ongoing difficulty managing their accounts and handling money may be showing early signs of dementia.
According to a recent article in STATnews, a partnership between banking and medicine could help diagnose cognitive decline among the elderly before mismanagement of funds or financial fraud leaves them unable to pay for living expenses.
The concept of Whealthcare was conceived by Jason Karlawish, a professor of Medicine, Medial Ethics, Health Policy and Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. His research led him to explore the natural connections between banking, medicine and preventing elder financial abuse.
With increasing incidents of financial fraud, vulnerable older adults are a growing concern in a rapidly aging population. Poor financial management and losing the ability to manage daily monetary transactions can be among the first signs of cognitive changes in aging seniors. Banking and financial services are in many ways the “front lines” in screening for dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Reckless purchases, depleting savings accounts or failing to pay bills are frequently red flags of the early stages dementia.
Money is often a difficult subject to discuss in families, especially when an adult child questions their parents’ ability to manage their own finances, but early intervention can save older adults from financial ruin.
Tips for Talking About Money
- Approach the subject gently, noting if they are struggling with paying bills on time or balancing checkbook.
- Bring in a health professional as a neutral third party.
- Request to be added on to accounts with read-only access to monitor spending.
- Add adult child as a required second signatory for checks over a certain amount.
- Help parents set up auto-pay for regular bills.
- Notify financial adviser to watch for any erratic decisions.
To read more about Whealthcare visit whealthcare.org .