Some of the early signs of dementia are economical. For example, you may forget to pay your invoice, or you may have a tip calculation problem. According to a study published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine last year, people with dementia are more likely to miss credit card payments and have a subprime credit score years before they are diagnosed.

Researchers have linked the health records of more than 80,000 Medicare recipients to credit office data and found that people with dementia are at increased risk of skipping credit card payments six years before diagnosis. .. The study found that the likelihood of subprime credit scores (indicating multiple or severe delinquency) increased two and a half years before diagnosis.


Lauren Hersch Nicholas, a health economist and associate professor at the University of Colorado School of Public Health, told the study the horror of people who suffered catastrophic financial losses due to undetected cognitive decline. He says he was inspired.

“They and their families didn’t know they were in the early stages of dementia until something happened that could seize the house,” says Nicholas.

If loved ones are having a hard time managing their money, there may be ways to protect their finances and credit ratings while maintaining their dignity and autonomy. If you are worried about your own vulnerability to cognitive decline, you can also set up guardrails to protect yourself.

Simplification, automation, warning

EverSafe is a technology service that monitors people’s financial accounts for signs of fraud or theft of personal information, co-founder and co-founder of EverSafe with dozens of banks, brokerage firms and clients with credit card accounts. CEO Howard Tishler said. “It’s hard to stay on top of it,” says Tishler, even without cognitive problems.

Consolidating into one bank, one brokerage firm, and one or two credit cards makes it easier to monitor your account. According to Nicholas, you can prevent payment omissions by invoicing automatic payments, but you need to monitor your bank balances to prevent those payments from running out of your account.

For most accounts, customers can set alerts to notify them by text or email about low balances, transactions that exceed the limits they set, or other potential issues. In many cases, you can add multiple phone numbers or email addresses so that a second person will also be notified.

Alerts can be set online or by calling the customer service number of a financial provider, says Amy Goyer, AARP’s national family and long-term care specialist. If you’re setting up these for someone else, that person will probably need to call you and give them permission to make changes, Goyer says. In addition, some companies allow customers to specify a trusted person to contact if an anomalous transaction is detected and the institution is unable to respond to the customer.

On the other hand, you can monitor your credit score to warn you of payment failures or theft of your personal information. Many banks and credit card companies offer free credit scores, but you can also sign up for free services online.

Designate the co-pilot

Real estate lawyers say that virtually every adult should have a power of attorney. This is a legal document that specifies someone you trust to make a financial decision for you if you are incompetent.

There are several other ways to monitor your finances. For example, older people may be willing to add an adult child or other trusted person as a co-owner of a checking account, or share login credentials for a financial account. Another option is to share login credentials for account aggregation services such as Mint and Simplifi. A trusted person cannot log in to a bank, brokerage, or credit card account, but can see balances and transactions.

Unfortunately, not everyone has a reliable person, and financial abuse of the elderly is often committed by families. Lawyers, certified accountants, certified financial planners, or other trustees can be willing to serve as trusted individuals, Goyer said. (Trustee means that your interests must take precedence over your own interests.)

Another option, according to Goyer, is to call a local aging regional agency, a public or private non-profit organization designated by the state to coordinate and provide services for the elderly. .. She proposes to seek agency recommendations for people and services that have been scrutinized and experienced to help older people handle money.

Adapt as needed

Goyer warns you not to go outboard. Attempting to take over someone’s finances prematurely can cause resentment and may not be good for them.

“Don’t take away all their freedom, independence and responsibility, because it’s not very cognitively good for them,” says Goyer.

When Goyer’s father struggled to manage his money, she took over the bill payment. However, she also set up another checking account for her father and remitted her spending there every month.

“He was still able to go to the grocery store, buy petrol for his car and pay for his mom’s hair reservation,” Goyer says. “He managed it well for a couple of years.”

This column was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website Nerd Wallet. Liz Weston is a columnist at Nerd Wallet, a certified financial planner and author of Your Credit Score. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @lizweston.

Source link Money mistakes may be a sign of dementia [Column] – Thereporteronline

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