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'Alzheimer's patients' financial abilities decline rapidly'

'Alzheimer's patients' financial abilities decline rapidly'
11th February 2008

Patients with mild Alzheimer's disease suffer a dramatic decline in their ability to handle their finances over a one year period, according to new research.

A team from the University of Alabama at Birmingham compared 55 patients with mild Alzheimer's against 63 healthy participants over a one year period.

Both groups were assessed on a variety of financial skills including basic monetary skills, bill payment and understanding a bank statement.

From the onset of the trial the test group already had a 20 per cent decline in overall financial ability compared with the control group – this dropped by a further ten per cent after 12 months.

The Alzheimer's patients showed "substantial" decline on 12 of the 18 tasks and significantly were unable to recognise phone or mail scams.

Dr Daniel Mason, lead author of the study, stated that these findings suggest that Alzheimer's patients may be susceptible to fraud.

Meanwhile, the Office of Fair Trading recently warned the elderly and their carers to be vigilant against conmen.

The organisation stated that elderly people are often hit twice as hard by mass marketed scams.

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