An article from the Washington Post is circulating this week in the national news channels. The headline reads “Dementia may cause major financial problems long before diagnosis, making early detection critical.”
One of the first indicators with my mother’s oncoming dementia was noticing my mom calling her bank frequently for her account balance. Mom always knew where she was with her resources and always paid her debts on time. A few months later she began to struggle with balancing her account, missing paying some bills and not recording payments. I called the bank to assist her and a kind employee hinted mom needed help. She alerted me it was more serious than I imagined. Mom shared with me she thought someone was taking money from her account. Mom had been demonstrating some short-term memory loss. It was a wake-up call to me that mom may have dementia.
Three years later mom relocated to an assisted living center with memory care. The inability to perform simplistic math was an early indicator for my mom.
“Some of these financial symptoms are popping up as early as six years before formal clinical diagnosis,” said Lauren Nicholas, the study’s lead author. New research published by Nicholas in collaboration with experts from the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the University of Michigan Medical School suggests that adverse financial events associated with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias can start happening years before people are clinically diagnosed.
We want to raise awareness for family members and friends that this behavior may be associated with early signs of dementia. It certainly is true for my family’s experience and it was the wake-up call for us to schedule an appointment with a neurologist for evaluation.