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News Picture: Years Before Diagnosis, People With Alzheimer's Lose Financial AcumenBy Steven Reinberg HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Dec. 3, 2020 (HealthDay News)

Even earlier than indicators of Alzheimer’s illness or dementia seem, persons are vulnerable to make poor monetary selections, a brand new examine finds.

Older individuals identified with dementia or Alzheimer’s had been extra more likely to miss bank card funds as early as six years earlier than their analysis, in contrast with comparable individuals with out dementia (about 8% versus 7%), the researchers discovered.

Patients with dementia had been additionally more likely to have decrease credit score scores within the three years earlier than analysis than these with out dementia (about 9% versus 8%). These monetary issues had been extra widespread amongst sufferers with much less schooling, the findings confirmed.

“Missed bill payments can have catastrophic consequences, like losing a home, car or business. By the time dementia is detected, it may be too late,” mentioned lead researcher Lauren Hersch Nicholas, an affiliate professor and well being economist at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

Faltering monetary acumen also can depart older individuals weak to scammers.

“We don’t have access to data on phone scams, but worry a lot about those,” Nicholas mentioned. “Given the patterns that we’re seeing, along with other research suggesting that people who are more susceptible to fraud in hypothetical survey questions are more likely to develop dementia in the future, I would definitely view falling for a phone scam as a potential early sign/symptom that I would monitor.”

However, “earlier detection of dementia can help protect patients from these financial errors,” she added. “When dementia is diagnosed, it is important to make sure that patients are also receiving assistance in managing their money.”

For the examine, Nicholas and her colleagues collected knowledge on greater than 81,000 Americans receiving Medicare, a federal medical health insurance program for people who find themselves 65 or older, or disabled.

“Although we currently lack treatments to delay or reverse dementia, our work points to an important role for strategies like emergency financial contacts that can help to protect financial security of people with dementia,” she mentioned.

Nicholas additionally believes that group monetary establishments have an element to play in defending their older shoppers.

“Businesses like banks and credit card companies may be on the front lines on dementia detection and prevention,” she mentioned.

Heather Snyder, vice chairman for medical and scientific operations on the Alzheimer’s Association, mentioned these findings will not be stunning, and “add to other work in this area aiming to identify what may be the first noticeable changes a person may experience.”

Past work highlights that adjustments in judgment, monetary capability or decision-making could be the first reminiscence and pondering adjustments that folks and relations discover, Snyder mentioned.

This new analysis suggests an affiliation between early Alzheimer’s-related mind adjustments and poor monetary choice making, she mentioned. “It does not, however, prove cause, and it does not mean that older individuals who miss a payment have dementia,” Snyder harassed.

Many different private, social and financial causes can account for why somebody could make poor monetary selections, equivalent to making late funds or overspending.

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

And if a decline in psychological acuity is noticed, there are methods to assist protect people in opposition to fraud and scammers.

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

  • Putting up a “no solicitation” signal on the skin entrance to the house.
  • Calling the nationwide “Do Not Call” Registry (1-888-382-1222) to chop down on telephone solicitations.
  • Removing an individual’s title from the credit score bureau’s mailing checklist. To accomplish that, name the Consumer Credit Reporting Industry at (1-888-567-8688).
  • Registering with the DMA (Direct Marketing Association), www.dmachoice.org to assist cut back solicitations by mail.

The new examine was printed on-line Nov. 30 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

More data

For extra on serving to a cherished one keep away from scams, together with the widespread “grandparent scam,” head to the Alzheimer’s Association.

SOURCES: Lauren Hersch Nicholas, PhD, affiliate professor, well being economist, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore; Heather Snyder, PhD, vice chairman, medical and scientific operations, Alzheimer’s Association; JAMA Internal Medicine, Nov. 30, 2020, on-line

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