In the United States, “5.1 million Americans 65 and older” (AARP) have Alzheimer’s disease, and that amount is expected to grow significantly in the next 30 years. Alzheimer’s disease is a slowly progressing disease. Often, an individual may have minor symptoms as much as a decade before she is formally diagnosed. These minor symptoms can include having trouble handling money or organizing. Unfortunately, memory loss can affect your finances in a multitude of ways.
How Memory Loss Can Affect Your Finances
You may first experience smaller, less significant ways early memory loss may affect your finances, before advancing to more significant ways.
How Your Finances Are Affected in Early Memory Loss
In the early stages of memory loss, you may struggle with several money issues.
Difficulty Counting Money
Adults have known how to count money since they were in elementary school. However, as you begin to experience memory loss, you may forget the value of certain coins or be unable to make change or find the proper amount to make a purchase.
Forgetting to Pay Bills
Another sign of early memory loss is when a person who was normally diligent about bill paying starts forgetting to pay them. While we all experience this once in a while, if you forget to pay the bills regularly, you may want to see your doctor for a check-up.
Paying Bills More Than Once
The flip side of this is paying your bills more than once because you forgot that you already paid them. Again, this can be a sign of memory loss that may be the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
How Your Finances Are Affected in Advancing Memory Loss
As your memory loss advances, the risks to your finances become greater.
Trusting Scam Artists
You know the scam emails you get sometimes, telling you $10,000 is waiting in a foreign bank account for you? All you have to do is wire money over to have the riches sent to you? Someone without memory loss will easily dismiss this as a scam, but people with memory loss are likely to believe it and send the money.
Investing in Get-Rich-Quick Schemes
Likewise, a person with memory loss has a higher risk tolerance than he did before his memory was affected. He may want to invest in the next great thing, certain he’ll make millions. While before he could have easily realized this is a poor investment, now he’s eager to invest and angry at anyone who stands in his way.
Spending Freely on Credit Cards
Finally, a person experiencing memory loss may spend much more freely on credit cards than he would have previously. One woman, unable to sleep at night (another sign of early Alzheimer’s), spent thousands buying items featured on late-night television. Her daughter had to close all of her credit card accounts because she continued to spend frivolously.
Memory loss can affect your finances in ways that can ultimately lead to bankruptcy. If you are experiencing any of these early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, please see a doctor. Many people in this situation feel scared and worry about their loss of independence, so they try to hide their symptoms. However, the sooner you see a doctor, the sooner you can start medications that can slow the progression of your memory loss. Treating your symptoms can help you protect your finances.
Additionally, you can use an application that lets you save from your bills. Sign-up to Billshark.
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