Accounts paid twice over or a chequebook in a mess could indicate incipient dementia. Problems in dealing with personal finances are one of the earliest indicators of an onset of senile dementia, according to a range of psychological studies.
Elderly people who go on to develop the symptoms typical of Alzheimer's Disease often show early signs in failing to pay money over properly, being unable to understand their bank statements or carrying out transfers incorrectly, according to neuropsychologist Daniel Mason.
These signals should set alarm bells ringing in the family, and relatives should become involved to guard against financial losses as their elderly relatives may be unaware of their declining faculties.
In a project at the Alzheimer Disease Research Centre of the University of Alabama 87 patients showing symptoms of memory loss were compared with 76 healthy elderly people, testing them for the way they handled their financial affairs. Twenty-five patients who developed symptoms of Alzheimer's within a year scored significantly worse in the test.
- (Dpa/Sapa, January 2012)