NEW YORK (MainStreet) It's one thing to lose your keys or walk into a room and forget what you were going to do there quite another to neglect paying bills or depositing a check. Dementia is a creeping debilitation affecting a growing number of those 60 years old and older. The risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, doubles every five years by age 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Over 5 million Americans currently suffer from Alzheimer's -- and by 2050, that number is expected to more than double.
Joanne W. Hsu of the Federal Reserve Board and Robert J. Willis from the University of Michigan recently studied the impact of cognitive decline on financial well-being. They determined that over 80% of individuals with dementia are still responsible for handling household money matters.
"A possible reason for this discrepancy -- that a person remains the financial respondent in spite of having problems handling money or a diagnosis -- is that the spouse may be even worse off," the study says. "We find that households tend to wait until cognition has fallen quite low to make the switch. In particular, this switch often occurs well after the original financial respondent has reported having difficulties handling money. Over one-third of coupled respondents with cognition in the dementia range are financial respondents, and their cognitive impairment may prevent them being able to provide accurate data on financial holdings."