Dementia and Managing Money: A Growing Threat

May 3, 2019 / Amanda Chase, Horsesmouth Assistant Editor

The perils of aging generally escalate around 75, and they are becoming more pervasive as more Americans live to very old ages. One of these perils—declining cognitive ability—often creates financial problems. Currently, dementia afflicts roughly a quarter of seniors in their early 80s. And geriatricians and demographers have predicted for years that dementia will become a serious societal problem in the future as the tsunami of baby boomers reach older ages.

The first sign of deteriorating financial skills might be forgetting to pay a bill. But when severe dementia sets in, the vast majority completely lose their ability to manage their finances and risk making big mistakes, such as losing money in a fraudulent investment scheme. Another concern is retirees’ growing reliance on 401(k)s for more of their income. Increasingly, they are grappling with the complicated question of how much money to withdraw each year from their 401(k) accounts—this is difficult for anyone but virtually impossible for people with dementia.

Fortunately, most of them get assistance managing their finances. But the seniors who don’t get help face potentially grave repercussions, such as having difficulty affording food, housing and medical care.

You can find this article and a related study at Squared Away Blog.

 

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