One of the most insipid and difficult issues to deal with for elder persons is the declining speed and sharpness of our memory. Although there is certainly an element of regular aging that contributes to our reduced ability to quickly remember great quantities of information, memory problems can eventually progress to something more serious such as various types of dementia But it can be hard to realize that something is happening if an elder person’s conversations and day-to-day functioning remains the same. So how can we tell if an elder relative is starting to have memory issues?
One of the strongest indicators for memory issues is financial management and decision-making. In our youth, when we are young and hungry and many of us are very cognizant of our financial situation, it’s easy for us to make smart financial decisions (barring circumstances such as gambling or substance abuse). But as some people get older and age into elderhood, their ability to manage complex finances or even make good financial decisions starts to slip.
We’ve all heard the stories of scammers calling elder persons and asking for money for “their grandson in jail” or “their great-nephew who was kidnapped.” But while these scams may seem absurd to younger people, for elders they can be scary and threatening. Is the person on the phone lying? Is my grandson really in trouble? In addition, for elders beginning to struggle with memory problems, they may not be able to quickly remember that their grandson is not in Jail, he’s in college overseas. They may not be able to process that the “investment opportunity” someone tells them about is a poor idea.
These poor financial decisions made by elder persons who were formerly very responsible are not just an issue of planning, they can also be strong indicators of a growing memory or cognition problem. At Senior Steps, our geriatric care managers complete a thorough and comprehensive assessment that covers every issue an elder person can run into during their later years. That includes financial issues and financial planning. As part of our services, we refer many of our clients to estate attorneys, financial planners, and the like, in order to provide our clients with the highest possible quality of life.
If you or a loved one in elderhood are starting to struggle with controlling finances, it may be an indicator of a more serious underlying memory problem. And if it becomes an issue that you’d like help with or even just advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Senior Steps, Inc.