Dementia may cause major financial problems long before diagnosis, making early detection critical
“Deteriorating financial capabilities have long been considered one of the earliest signs of cognitive decline.”
New research published Monday “suggests that adverse financial events associated with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, or ADRD, can start happening years before people are clinically diagnosed.” The study connected “the health data of more than 80,000 Medicare beneficiaries with federal consumer credit reports.”
“Some of these financial symptoms are popping up as early as six years before formal clinical diagnosis,” said the study’s lead author.
“The effect cognitive impairments can have on a person’s financial health is ‘a significant problem,’ said Oscar Lopez, director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh. If people are racking up debt or falling victim to financial scams or fraud, it could prevent them from having the necessary funds to care for themselves as their condition worsens.”
“Changes in judgment, financial ability or decision-making are usually the first signs individuals and family members may notice, but ‘too often these are denied or dismissed, when they may actually be a reason to get a thorough medical evaluation,’ Heather Snyder, vice president of medical and scientific operations at the Alzheimer’s Association.”
“There has traditionally been some reluctance to diagnose mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s early, amid concerns that without effective therapies to cure or slow the progression of the condition, a diagnosis may only cause worry or other adverse mental health effects.” This study provides strong evidence for making a diagnosis earlier than later to prevent financial disaster. Money problems continued even when “people were aware their cognitive abilities were declining.”
It is especially import for older adults living alone to have a trusted family member or other adult be notified when bills are overdue as this is a clear sign of potential trouble. More financial entities need to allow for a second party to be notified when problems occur with bills and other financial accounts.
Doing these five things could decrease your risk of Alzheimer’s by 60 percent, new study says
“A study presented Sunday at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Los Angeles found that combining five lifestyle habits — including eating healthier, exercising regularly and refraining from smoking — can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by 60 percent. A separate study showed that lifestyle choices can lower risk even for those who are genetically prelifestyle disposed to the disease.”
Rate yourself on five important metrics: diet, exercise, smoking, alcohol consumption and “engagement in cognitive stimulation activities.”
“Individuals who ate a ‘high-quality diet’ of mostly vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, seafood, poultry and olive oil — while avoiding red meats, butter, cheese, pastries, sweets and fried food — earned 1s. This was also true for anyone who exercised at least 150 minutes a week, whether by biking, walking, swimming, gardening or doing yard work.”
“People who did not smoke, limited themselves to one glass of wine a day, and regularly — two or three times a week — engaged in mentally stimulating activities such as reading the newspaper, visiting the library or playing games such as chess and checkers also earned 1s.”
“Individuals with a score of 4 or 5 — meaning they pursued four or five healthy behaviors over the period studied — were 60 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s compared with participants who scored 0 or 1. The results did not vary by race or gender.
Source: writing for The Washington Post, July 14, 2019
Source: Financial Planning for Women