Financial Missteps Could Signal Future Dementia

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“Businesses like banks and credit card companies can be on the front lines for the detection and prevention of dementia,” she said.

Heather Snyder, vice president of medical and scientific operations at the Alzheimer’s Association, said these findings are not surprising, and “add to other work in this area aimed at identifying what could be the first noticeable changes. that a person can suffer “.

Previous work points out that changes in judgment, financial capacity, or decision-making may be the first changes in memory and thinking that people and family members notice, Snyder said.

This new research suggests an association between early brain changes linked to Alzheimer’s disease and poor financial decision-making, she said. “However, that doesn’t prove the cause, and it doesn’t mean older people who miss a payment have dementia,” Snyder said.

There are many other personal, social, and economic reasons that can explain why someone might make bad financial decisions, such as late payments or overspending.

“If you’re concerned about changes in an individual’s memory or judgment, make an appointment with the doctor to discuss symptoms and get an evaluation,” Snyder said.

And if a drop in mental acuity is detected, there are ways to protect individuals from fraud and fraudsters.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “because of their vulnerability, people with Alzheimer’s disease are at a higher risk of being victims of scams, fraud and crime.” The association recommends:

  • Put up a “no solicitation” sign on the exterior entrance to the house.
  • Call the national “Do Not Call” registry (1-888-382-1222) to reduce phone calls.
  • Remove a person’s name from the credit bureau’s mailing list. To do this, call the Consumer Credit Reporting Industry at (1-888-567-8688).
  • Register with the DMA (Direct Marketing Association), www.dmachoice.org to help reduce mail solicitations.

The new study was published online on November 30 at JAMA Internal Medicine.

More information

To learn more about how to help a loved one avoid scams, including the “Grandparents Scam,” visit the Alzheimer’s Association.

SOURCES: Lauren Hersch Nicholas, PhD, associate professor, health economist, Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore; Heather Snyder, PhD, vice president, medical and scientific operations, Alzheimer’s Association; JAMA Internal Medicine, November 30, 2020, online

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