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Financial Management | Common Signs

  • Has trouble counting or adding coins and bills
  • Has difficulty telling coins and bills apart (e.g. mistakes nickel for quarter, uses a $5 as a $20)
  • Withdraws money more frequently (e.g. everyday)
  • Gives money away to family or strangers on a regular basis
  • Money and credit cards go missing (e.g. hidden or lost; this can be an example of the symptom of misplacing things)
  • Thinks he or she has no money
  • Thinks he or she has more money than is actually in the bank
  • Is reluctant to spend money or talk about finances
  • Has difficulty with general banking activities (e.g. making deposits, withdrawals)
  • Has difficulty writing cheques (e.g. enters information in wrong place, forgets to sign )
  • Forgets to pay bills
  • Pays the same bill more than once
Financial Management | General Description

Handling money and understanding its value requires the ability to mentally process complex concepts, such as recognizing money, appreciating its value and keeping track of how much is spent each month. It becomes difficult for the Alzheimer's patient to process many of these concepts and their memory loss only adds to their problems with financial management.

There are any number of ways that problems with financial management can become apparent. Paying bills twice, or not paying at all, are common signs in mild dementia. As the dementia becomes more established, the person you care for might begin to exhibit unusual behaviours with their money. They may leave their cash out in the open, hide money around the house, give money away to family or strangers, or refuse to keep money in the bank. They may also develop irrational fears about having no money or running out of money. The person you care for may have difficulties handling the money and completing basic financial transactions due to trouble counting or adding coins and bills, or understanding their value. General banking procedures, such as deposits and withdrawals may also present difficulties to the person you care for. This can result in your increasing involvement and assistance. For example, they may lose money, may forget to pay bills, or may pay bills more than once without your guidance.

In Frontotemporal dementia , the impairment in financial decision-making stems from poor judgment and impulse control together with risk taking behaviour. The person may spend money impulsively. When this behaviour is noticed, it becomes important for the caregiver to quickly limit the person's access to the finances. Given that memory is often relatively well preserved early in the course of Frontotemporal dementia, and that a lot of impulsivity might otherwise go unremarked, poor financial judgment can be the first sign of a problem.

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See Also:
About Dementia > Alzheimer's Disease > Agnosia
Symptom Library > Thinking & Judgment > Comprehension/ Understanding
Symptom Library > Behaviour > Delusions and Paranoia
Symptom Library > Personality Changes > Personality Changes
Symptom Library > Memory & Language > Misplacing or Losing Objects
About Dementia > Alzheimer's Disease > Memory
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Last updated January 13, 2019
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