Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Financial planning a key but neglected component of Alzheimer's care

Date:
February 16, 2011
Source:
University of California - San Francisco
Summary:
Patients newly diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or other dementias, and their families, need better guidance from their physicians on how to plan for the patient's progressive loss of ability to handle finances, say researchers.

Patients newly diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or other dementias, and their families, need better guidance from their physicians on how to plan for the patient's progressive loss of ability to handle finances, according to a study led by a physician at the San Francisco VA Medical Center and the University of California, San Francisco.

Related Articles


"When a patient is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or dementia, the chance that their physician will discuss advance planning for finances is miniscule," said lead author Eric Widera, MD, a geriatrician at SFVAMC. "And yet when family members and caregivers are asked what's important to them, finances are near the top of the list."

Writing in the Feb. 16, 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, the authors use a case study of an Alzheimer's patient who progressively lost the ability to handle finances as a springboard for a review of medical literature on the topic of dementia and financial impairment.

"The literature tells us that financial incapacity occurs very early and very rapidly in Alzheimer's disease and other dementias," said Widera, who is also an assistant clinical professor of medicine in the Division of Geriatrics at UCSF. "Patients start having difficulty managing bank statements and paying bills in the pre-dementia phase -- mild cognitive impairment -- and then, often within a year, lose more basic financial skills like counting coins and paying with cash."

This rapid progression of financial incapacity, said Widera, makes it "essential" that physicians proactively counsel patients and their families on financial planning "early in the disease, while the patient still has the capacity to make the decisions" that will allow trusted caregivers to take over finances.

"This is about giving patients with dementia a choice, respecting them as individuals, and working to maintain their autonomy even beyond the point where they can't make decisions anymore," Widera said. "Proper financial planning will leave both the patient and the caregiver with more financial resources to deal with the consequences of the disease."

As a first step in financial planning, the authors recommend that early in the course of the disease, the patient sign a durable power of attorney authorizing a family member or other trusted caregiver to make financial decisions on the patient's behalf. "If you wait until it's too late for the patient to be involved in the decision-making, you have to go to court, which makes it much more difficult and expensive" for the caregiver to take over financial responsibilities for the patient, warned Widera.

Another strategy is for the patient and a trusted caregiver to open joint financial accounts. "The caregiver can go online and see where the money is going," noted Widera. "This can protect the patient's autonomy while giving the caregiver a bit of oversight, and provide an early warning system as the disease progresses."

Co-authors of the paper are Veronika Steenpass, MD, of UCSF, primary investigator Daniel Marson, JD, PhD, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Rebecca Sudore, MD, of SFVAMC and UCSF.

The study was supported by funds from the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Hartford Foundation, the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and a Pfizer Fellowship in Clear Health Communication.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - San Francisco. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. E. Widera, V. Steenpass, D. Marson, R. Sudore. Finances in the Older Patient With Cognitive Impairment: 'He Didn't Want Me to Take Over'. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 2011; 305 (7): 698 DOI: 10.1001/jama.2011.164

Cite This Page:

University of California - San Francisco. "Financial planning a key but neglected component of Alzheimer's care." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110216111933.htm>.
University of California - San Francisco. (2011, February 16). Financial planning a key but neglected component of Alzheimer's care. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110216111933.htm
University of California - San Francisco. "Financial planning a key but neglected component of Alzheimer's care." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110216111933.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
More People Diagnosed With TB In 2013, But There's Good News

More People Diagnosed With TB In 2013, But There's Good News

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) The World Health Organizations says TB numbers rose in 2013, but it's partly due to better detection and more survivors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins