Dementia can be spotted in your bank account up to 5 years before diagnosis

Experts have warned that financial difficulties could be an early indicator of dementia, with symptoms potentially appearing up to five years prior to diagnosis. The experts analysed both financial and medical records, discovering that those diagnosed with dementia exhibited signs in their bank accounts long before their health issues were identified.

Researchers at the New York Federal Reserve discovered that individuals who were later diagnosed with dementia had already begun missing payments and experiencing a drop in their credit rating before they were aware of any health problems. They noted: „Beyond susceptibility to payment delinquency, early stage [Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders] may affect new account openings and debt accumulation, credit utilisation, and/or credit mix.“

Marcey Tidwell shared with CTV that after her mother was diagnosed with dementia in 2020, she reviewed her records and noticed signs of deteriorating mental health dating back to 2015 – including large withdrawals from savings. Karen Lemay revealed that they first became aware of their father’s dementia when she discovered a stack of late payment and final notification warnings.

Jayne Sibley told CTV that her mother would frequently withdraw money from cash machines and give it to anyone who asked. She explained: „She would overspend on things she didn’t need or want. Random items, cleaning equipment, luxury food. She also fell victim to scams over the phone.“

Dementia UK has rolled out a raft of financial support measures for individuals grappling with dementia and their carers. They emphasised: „A person with dementia is likely to lose capacity over time, so it is important to know what to do in this situation.“, reports Wales Online.

They further advised: „When you are thinking about your future care, it is important to discuss your wishes with family, friends and health and social care professionals and make a record of what you would like to happen. You can do this by making an Advance Care Plan.“

Elaborating on the specifics, they stated: „An Advance Care Plan is a record of your preferences about your future care and support, including decisions about medical treatment and end of life care. It is sometimes known as an Advance Statement. It is not legally binding, but will help the people involved in your care understand and respect your views and wishes.“

Highlighting the importance for those with dementia, they added: „If you have dementia, making an Advance Care Plan is important because it may become harder to make decisions or communicate your wishes as your condition progresses. If you are making an Advance Care Plan, try to involve close family members and friends, and your health and social care professionals.“

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