Signs of dementia you can spot in your bank account

An older woman double checking personal finance details
-Credit: (Image: Getty)

Problems with money could be a sign of dementia and can arise five years before a diagnosis, according to experts. Experts have analysed financial records and medical records and found that people diagnosed with dementia show signs in their bank account years before their health problems are recognised.

Researchers at the New York Federal Reserve found that people who were diagnosed with dementia had already started to miss payments and were seeing their credit rating drop before they knew they had health problems. They wrote: “Beyond susceptibility to payment delinquency, early stage [Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders] may affect new account openings and debt accumulation, credit utilisation, and/or credit mix.”

Marcey Tidwell told CTV that after her mother was diagnosed with dementia in 2020 she went through her records, and saw signs of failing mental health dating back to 2015 - including large amounts of money withdrawn from savings. Karen Lemay said the first they knew of their father's dementia was when she found a pile of late payment and final notification warnings.

Jayne Sibley told CTV her mum would take money out of a cash machine multiple times a day and give it to anyone who asked. She said: "She would overspend on things she didn’t need or want. Random items, cleaning equipment, luxury food. She also fell victim to scams over the phone."

Dementia UK offers a range of financial support for people living with dementia and those caring for them. They said: "A person with dementia is likely to lose capacity over time, so it is important to know what to do in this situation."

They added: "When you are thinking about your future care, it is important to discuss your wishes with family, friends and health and social care professionals and make a record of what you would like to happen. You can do this by making an Advance Care Plan.

"An Advance Care Plan is a record of your preferences about your future care and support, including decisions about medical treatment and end-of-life care. It is sometimes known as an Advance Statement. It is not legally binding but will help the people involved in your care understand and respect your views and wishes.

"If you have dementia, making an Advance Care Plan is important because it may become harder to make decisions or communicate your wishes as your condition progresses. If you are making an Advance Care Plan, try to involve close family members and friends, and your health and social care professionals."