Loss of Financial Skills Can Affect Independent Living


elder law attorney, independent living, senior assistanceAre you worried about your parent's ability to maintain independent living? While many factors determine whether living alone is safe, a recent study indicated that those with early-stage Alzheimer's disease show such rapid declines in financial skills that this can signal a need for senior assistance sooner rather than later.

The study, conducted at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, showed that those with early-stage Alzheimer's might have problems with paying bills and counting change, two tasks important for independent living. If your parent has Alzheimer's, the researchers recommend using senior assistance programs and hiring an elder law attorney right away in order to get your parent's finances in order.

Hire an Elder Law Attorney

Ideally, parents should visit an elder law attorney as soon as possible after an Alzheimer's diagnosis so they can make their own decisions about how their finances should be handled as the disease worsens. Elder law attorneys can help set up living wills, living trusts, advance directives, durable powers of attorney, and other documents that will be necessary as independent living becomes more difficult.

Use Senior Assistance for Monthly Matters

Check with your parent's local Area Agency on Aging to find out about senior assistance programs that can help with bill paying and other independent living matters. The Eldercare Locator can direct you to the correct agency. Also, check with your parent's nearest AARP office; some chapters offer senior assistance with bill paying provided by AARP volunteers.

Guard Against Fraud

The study also indicated that parents with early stage Alzheimer's are less able to recognize fraud schemes, both over the phone and through the mail. This is another reason to be sure that someone is supervising your parent's financial activities, whether it be someone from a local senior assistance program or someone recommended by an elder law attorney.

Are you concerned about your parent's ability to maintain independent living? What kinds of senior assistance programs have you used? Do you consult with an elder law attorney? Post a comment to this blog, and be sure to sign up for our email list to receive regular updates about new eldercare topics posted on EldercareABC.com.

--Carrie L. Hill, Ph.D


6 Responses

  1. [...] the links below - just four today since I got an early start. Pimp Your Finances - The Escalator Loss of Financial Skills Can Affect Independent Living - eldercareabcblog.com 02/27/2009 [ elder law attorney, independent living, senior assistance]Are [...]
  2. Carrie, Great post with a wealth of very applicable information for families that are dealing with this concern. Here in Phoenix, AAA is a great resource, AARP always seems helpful but also the Alzheimer's Association should be added. Again, here in Phoenix, they offer a lot of classes for the family, family caregiver and agencies with the goal of educating everyone and putting everyone on the same page. Again, great post. SYNERGY HomeCare East Valley
  3. Excellent information in a short article. Most adult children seem to wait until there is a crisis before acting to protect loved ones who are losing financial capacity. I would not wait until there is a diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease to consult a lawyer. Everyone should have a durable power of attorney for finances, at the very least, by the time we're 60, if not sooner. Nearly every person eventually diagnosed with Alzheimer's has significant memory problems, and possibly trouble handling money prior to the diagnosis. The message here is, don't wait until there is a diagnosis. You'll see plenty of signs of memory loss long before that. Those warning signs need your attention, and effort to protect aging loved ones from abuse. Carolyn Rosenblatt, R.N., Attorney at Law.
  4. Your Message<a href="#comment-201" rel="nofollow">@SYNERGY HomeCare:</a>Thank you so much for pointing out the value of consulting with the Alzheimer's Association on these matters. Local chapters are excellent resources for guidance on how the disease affects financial decision making as well as for referrals to local services that can help.
  5. Your Message<a href="#comment-220" rel="nofollow">@Carolyn L. Rosenblatt, RN, Attorney:</a>Carolyn -- great point, the time to get financial matters in order, including preparing for potential future memory loss, is now. It's never too early to designate someone as your DPOA for finances in case Alzheimer's disease or a related disorder occurs. Thank you for your comment!
  6. [...] Loss of Financial Skills Can Affect Independent Living (5) [...]
  7. Your Message Carrie: I hope you know just how much we all appreciate your blog. Friday, family members from around the country will travel to my hometown, Creston, IA, to have a celebration of life for my mother who had alzheimer's disease. She was nearly 89. I'm in the early stages (stage 4 I believe). She lived a full life and I never saw her unhappy with us kids. Carrie, you know, I don't think wonderful life memories ever die. They just become golden!
  8. Michael, thank you so much for your comment! I hope the celebration of life for your mother went well last week, it sounds like your family has a wonderful outlook and is very resilient. I went to Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, IA so I am familiar with Creston. Also, my grandmother died of Alzheimer's at age 89, about the same age as your mother. All the best to you and your family.Your Message<a href="#comment-687" rel="nofollow">@Michael L. Harville:</a>
  9. [...] Loss of Financial Skills Can Affect Independent Living [...]