November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. One of the first signs of Alzheimer’s Disease can be difficulty managing daily money tasks such as balancing a checkbook or figuring out a budget. Sadly, due to fears of losing independence, people with the disease may try to hide their difficulty with money. Or, depending on the severity of the illness, they may not realize they’re having trouble.
Signs of Problems Managing Money with Alzheimer’s Disease
If you think a loved one may be struggling with money management due to Alzheimer’s look for these signs.
- Difficulty counting change
- Trouble calculating a tip
- Poorly balanced checkbook
- Confusion with bank statements
- Unpaid and/or unopened bills
- Increased credit card activity
- Strange new purchases
- Money missing from their account
A family member or trustee should regularly check the person’s financial records to see how things are going. This is more than an indicator of how the Alzheimer’s is progressing. It also helps protect them from fraud.
Steps to Take
People with Alzheimer’s become increasingly suspicious as the disease progresses. You can help them feel safe and independent while still managing their financial affairs.
- Give them small amounts of money or a voided check to have on hand
- Reduce spending limits on credit cards to the minimum amount
- Include them in the process as much as possible
- In more advanced cases, it may be necessary to respectfully take legal steps to transfer their financial affairs over to you or a trustee
Be on the Lookout for Fraud
People with Alzheimer’s are more susceptible to fraud and scams. They don’t recognize phony offers or threats for what they are. Look for:
- Signatures on the checks that don’t look like theirs
- Changes to a will or other legal documents that were not authorized by them
- Their home was sold and they did not put it up for sale
- They’ve signed legal documents without knowing what they mean
- Belongings are missing
Depending on the situation, contacting authorities such as the consumer protection office may be advisable.
Taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s is challenging enough without also taking on their financial affairs. If it’s too much for you, hiring a daily money manager to help is the ideal solution. Daily money managers (like me) can do all of the tasks and checks listed above – saving you valuable time. For more information, please contact me.