Critter Corner: Can Dad Still Manage his Finances?

Dear Bebe,

My dad has mild cognitive impairment. Sometimes he’s completely out of it, while at other times he seems like himself. When he’s out of it, he does silly and sometimes reckless things involving money. What are some signs that my dad can no longer manage his own finances?


Cana Tandelmoney


Dear Cana,

Adults with cognitive impairment are more likely to experience diminished financial capacity and/or declining decision-making skills when it comes to money. Knowing how to spot the early warning signs of cognitive decline and mismanagement of finances, and what to do when they appear, can go a long way in protecting your loved one.

According to AARP’s Public Policy Institute and University of Alabama Birmingham professors Kristen Triebel and Daniel Marson—who study how dementia impacts money management skills—a person exhibiting the early signs of dementia that impacts handling of finances may demonstrate the following characteristics or behaviors:

• Memory lapses such as missing appointments, falling behind on bills, or forgetting the answers to frequently-asked questions

• Lack of organization among important files and documents

• Deteriorating checkbook management skills

• Difficulty with basic math

• Confusion and difficulty comprehending previously understood concepts

• Poor or declining financial judgment

• Making drastic changes to important financial documents, such as naming a new power of attorney or changing the terms of a trust.

• Taking a more passive approach to finances, when he was the one who used to handle them.

It is important to take these warning signs seriously and not dismiss them as routine symptoms of aging. If your father hasn’t done his planning or if changes are needed, be sure to make an appointment right away with the attorneys at the Farr Law Firm. For more information, please read our article,
Is it Time to Take Control of Your Parent’s Finances?.


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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.

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