Alzheimer’s and Money Matters: When to Step In

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Monitoring Finances Is One Way to Care

Caring for Loved Ones Takes Many Forms

Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia that affects memory and greatly impacts quality of life. For those with a parent or grandparent who has the disease, it can affect what they do and the decisions they make, especially with money. Alzheimer’s patients may not notice subtle bouts of memory loss or strange behavior, that’s why it’s important to take charge. Having access to their financial accounts helps adult children to pay their bills, control spending and prevent fraud. Let’s take a look at a few ways it benefits both the parent and the child.

Before Bills Get Out of Hand

Caregiving for someone who has Alzheimer’s disease requires a great deal of physical involvement and assistance. A major component of it means making sure financial needs are being met. Having access to a loved one’s checking account makes it easier to take a closer look at what bills are coming in and that they are being paid on time. This helps avoid utility shut-offs and a possibly a poor credit rating.

While You Can Still Control Spending Habits

People who have Alzheimer’s may not fully realize how quickly their spending habits can spiral out of control. Forgetfulness and sometimes erratic behavior can quickly turn problematic when money is withdrawn, spent and used on non-basic necessities. Monitoring spending habits, having access to online accounts and taking possession of checks and debit cards can curb this behavior. The goal is to make sure needs are being met while avoiding unnecessary shopping sprees.

Before Someone Takes Advantage

Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s patients often find themselves more susceptible to fraud. It’s prevalent with older adults who have dementia and they’re vulnerable when it comes to giving money to strangers. Sometimes people that are closest to them, such as a neighbor or family member, can easily coax them into giving their money away. Gaining control over their checking and financial accounts can help them avoid scam artists and greedy acquaintances, keeping their savings intact.

What Steps to Take

A Durable Power of Attorney designates a specific person, such as a child or other family member, to be in charge of finances. If no such document exists, and unless a patient designates who has permission to use a specific account, caregivers will have to petition the court for guardianship. This legal route makes it possible to gain access and control over the finances of an adult who can no longer make sound decisions for themselves.

Noticing a problem with how finances are currently being handled is the first step in making a change. No one wants to take control of their loved one’s finances unless it’s absolutely necessary. However, handling the logistics of financial care is better done sooner rather than later.

~Here’s to Your Financial Health!