If your loved one has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it’s important to prepare for all the ways in which life will change. Not only will your loved one’s circumstances change, but the disease will also impact your own life and the lives of your extended family members. One often overlooked area is your loved one’s finances. People with dementia may show signs of financial troubles before they ever receive an official diagnosis. Here are some crucial financial mistakes to watch out for when your senior loved one has dementia.
Payments Are Missed
While many seniors remain financially independent well into old age, your loved one will likely require your support when Alzheimer’s is involved. Ask your loved one to sit down with you and review all of their monthly bills. If you notice any unpaid bills, prioritize these ahead of other monthly outgoings.
Sometimes older adults are embarrassed about their financial situation, and rather than asking for help, they let it go for months without taking any action. Neglecting their finances is obviously not ideal, so the sooner you help your loved one take control, the better.
Bad Credit Scores Long Before Diagnosis
Alzheimer’s disease usually does not appear suddenly. Rather, the person will slowly begin to exhibit signs and symptoms over an extended period. Their symptoms can typically be confused with normal signs of aging, such as forgetting information, losing your train of thought while speaking, or misplacing items around the house.
However, if your loved one has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, their credit score may have already been negatively affected due to missed payments, overspending, and other poor financial decisions. Sit down with them, check their credit score and, if needed, consult a financial advisor to get an overview of the situation.
Have you noticed your loved one making investments that seem out of character? Are you concerned they have they fallen victim to a financial scam? Unfortunately, financial scammers are prolific and they prey on elderly and vulnerable people – specifically older adults with Alzheimer’s – are easy targets.
If your senior loved one regularly makes investments, ask them to review their current portfolio with you, so you can understand where their money is going. You may be able to spot any scams or pyramid schemes before they lose too much money.
Most seniors have a fixed amount of money to spend each month. If you notice that your loved one has overdrawn their account, or racked up credit card bills that seem out of character, they may be overspending due to memory issues. Ask them to share their account balances with you, as well as any credit card balances they have, so you can get a better idea of how much money they’re spending each month.
Financial Planning for People With Dementia
As mentioned above, many seniors live on a fixed income and have limited budgets, so having a firm handle on finances is extremely important. We recommend scheduling a meeting with a financial planner as soon as you can after your loved one receives their diagnosis. They can help you with issues like improving credit scores, eliminating debt, and making wise investments. The sooner you help your loved one take control of their financial situation, the sooner you can work together to make smarter decisions.
If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and you’d like more information about how you can help them with their financial planning, please contact our team at UMC today or visit our website at: https://umcommunities.org
This blog was originally published at https://umcommunities.org/umc-corp/blog/alzheimers-disease-and-finances/