Top tips on managing money for people with dementia

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A new study has revealed that having trouble managing money could be an early sign of dementia.

Research published in The Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease says that confusion over cash and coins could be linked to the level of protein deposits built up in the brain.

Money box

The research was carried out on 243 adults aged between 55 – 99 who were tested on their financial skills. Those tested were made up of cognitively healthy people, people with mild memory loss and people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. They were asked to complete a variety of tests to assess their financial capabilities.

Brain scans were then carried out to help identify protein build-up of beta-amyloid plaques.

Scientists found that the worse the plaques in a person’s brain were, the harder they found it to complete financial tasks.

There has been misconception that financial difficulty occurs in the later stages of dementia, but there can be early warning signs such as confusion when counting out money or trying to work out financial problems and balance accounts.

We’ve put together some top tips on managing your money if you are in the early stages of dementia of if you have a loved-one, friend or neighbour who might need help:

  • Have all income/pensions/benefits paid into one account to avoid confusion
  • Set up standing orders or direct debits for regular bills to ensure they are paid on time – this avoids confusion and means the person with dementia doesn’t have to remember to pay certain bills on certain dates
  • You can set up access for a third party (such as a loved-one) to have access to your account and the amount of access can be specified – this is helpful if you need someone to take money out to do shopping for you
  • A chip and signature card can be set up so a person with dementia only has to provide a signature and doesn’t have to remember and PIN codes
  • If you are in the early stages of dementia you can set up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) – this means setting up someone you trust to act on your behalf when it comes to your best interests and when you can no longer make decisions.

According to the Alzheimer’s Society, when using a bank 66% of people with dementia need assistance. It also revealed 76% of people have experienced difficulties when using a bank and 84% of carers help people with dementia deal with the bank.

Visiting a branch of a bank can be extremely overwhelming for someone with dementia. We often take it for granted but simple, everyday tasks such as withdrawing money or remembering a PIN number can become a challenge. You can read our blog on dementia-friendly banks here.

Saving money is super important to many people, especially the elderly and vulnerable. We have also posted some helpful advice for the elderly to stay frugal here.