5 Considerations for Coping with Alzheimer’s

What's Hot

2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

6 Stores With Awesome Reward ProgramsFamily

6 Ways to Save More at Lowe’s and The Home DepotSave

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

One in eight Americans over 65 is living with Alzheimer's. It's a crisis that impacts the entire family, and money mistakes can be clues to the onset of the disease. Here are some tips to help you cope.

Do you find yourself or a loved one making small money mistakes on an ongoing basis?

We all make the occasional mistake, from the occasional bounced check to incorrectly counting out change.  But consistent money missteps, like forgetting bills or falling victim to scams, should set off warning bells.

Research has shown money mistakes can be an early clue to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and is a progressive disorder that causes brain cells to die and impairs function. One in eight older Americans – an estimated 5.4 million people – are living with the disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Here are more details and steps you can take to protect yourself and your family’s finances.

1. Early clues to the disease

Research headed up by Daniel Marson, a neurology professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, showed a marked difference in the ability to solve money problems among those with early-stage Alzheimer’s.

In one study, test subjects were asked to identify coins, count money for a purchase, explain what a check was, read a bank statement, determine a fair price, and analyze a bill. The study showed the more progressed the disease was in a participant, the less likely they were to problem solve.

In another of Marson’s studies, seniors with mild symptoms were unable to explain the risks of telephone solicitations, something that can result in being victimized. “There’s an epidemic of financial exploitation aimed at people with mild cognitive impairment,” Marson told Kiplinger.com.

The sooner you think Alzheimer’s could be a problem, the sooner you need to get your financial house in order.

2. Possible costs

Ongoing medical care is one of many expenses to plan for. The Alzheimer’s Association estimated a whopping $200 billion was spent in 2012 on care for those with dementia. It typically costs $214 a day, or $78,110 a year, just for a semi-private room in a nursing home.

Other costs as the disease progresses can include home safety modifications, adult day care services, in-home care services, prescription drugs, and medical equipment.

3. Getting ready

If you confront dementia, either personally or with a family member, prepare as soon as possible. The Alzheimer’s Association recommends doing a complete review of all financial documents and organizing them in one place, including:

  • Bank and brokerage account information
  • Deeds and any mortgage or ownership documents
  • Insurance policies
  • Monthly and outstanding bills
  • Pensions and other retirement benefits
  • Rental income documents
  • Social Security payment paperwork
  • Stock and bond certificates

4. Setting financial goals

Keep in mind you’ll have to prepare for future care as well as ongoing financial commitments like paying bills and making investment choices. A family member or trusted financial adviser can help you find possible financial assistance and help set up investments.

Some sources for help from The Alzheimer’s Association:

5. Legal considerations

Establish who will be responsible for financial, legal, and other decisions when you or a loved one are no longer able to do so. One way to do this is to grant a durable power of attorney.

The power of attorney will give authority to a person you choose to make decisions on your behalf. As a legal document, however, the power of attorney must be signed while the person granting the power is still mentally competent.

While states have differing standards, as long as the effects of the disease are minor, the person generally will be considered competent, according to FindLaw.

Hope for the future

New research studies were announced just this week aiming at finding new treatments for the disease.

The National Institute on Aging announced Monday a five-year project including four major studies to develop new treatments. The research will be done by the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study, a national academic network.

“The ADCS is a key initiative in the federal program to discover, develop and test new Alzheimer’s treatments and diagnostic tools. Over the years, it has proved invaluable in advancing our understanding about the disease and how to conduct research in this challenging area,” said NIA Director Richard J. Hodes, M.D. in a statement announcing the studies.  “I am particularly excited that this round of studies will use what we have learned by testing interventions pre-symptomatically, as early as we can in the development of the disease, where we now think the best hope lies for keeping Alzheimer’s at bay.”

Here’s to hoping the studies are successful in finding new treatments and the government’s goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s Disease by 2025 succeeds.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!


Read Next: 5 Easy Ways to Save on Your Cell Phone Bill

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 2,066 more deals!