Senior Home Care Blog - Barrington IL

Dementia - Early Detection - Four ways to keep your loved ones financially sound.

By Christine Browning, R.N.

One of the most important things happening is dementia research today are ways to identify the issue earlier. Early identification can lead to a longer and better quality life for those suffering from the disease.


A recent University of Michigan study from the Spring of 2017 found that one of the earliest signs of cognitive impairment, including dementia is the inability to manage personal finances. If you are noticing your loved one having difficulty balancing their checkbook, understanding their credit card statements, or opening up many new accounts this could be a sign they will soon need more help. Lauren Hersch Nicholas, a professor at Johns Hopkins and Joanne Hsu, a senior economist with the Federal Reserve are looking at how health data and finances might be correlated utilizing Medicare among other sources to determine their findings. Early information indicates that dementia may show up first in financial behavior.


The Journal of the American Medical Association has, once before conducted such a study several years ago which also seemed to indicate this was the case.


The median cost of dementia for families is about $36,000 but there is a wide range and costs can reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Home Helpers of Barrington can often help reduce these costs and help keep individuals safely in their own homes through customization of care.


Here are four ways to help keep your loved ones both healthy and financially sound:

1. Make sure to have a durable Power of Attorney (POA) in place - this is important not just for seniors but for any adult, especially ones with small children.

2. Ask your senior about their finances early on. This does not have to be done in a condescending way. Let them know you care about them and want to help make things easier for them. There are reasonably priced independent third party firms such as Money Minders that can take over day to day financial duties while still allowing independence. Ask to have viewing privileges on their bank account and respectfully ask them if you see a payment that seems out of the ordinary.

3. Set up automatic bill pay and automatic check deposits for them.

4. As mentioned before, one of the first signs of cognitive impairment comes in the area of managing personal finances. When you see things that seem strange go to their next Dr. appointment with them and share your concerns with the Dr. Early detection can mean a longer and better quality of life for your loved one.