As you may or may not know, Resonate has extensive experience working with individuals, couples and families facing dementia and Alzheimer’s.  We have a special compassion which stems from twelve years of personal experience with my own father.  Therefore, we are constantly watching for the latest from thought-leaders in this space.  I hope you fine this helpful.

Your Resonate team welcomes a conversation with you and yours at any time.

Barb Culver

Why memory loss may not be the most worrisome symptom of dementia

Contributing Author

Carolyn McClanahan, MD, CFP®
Financial planner, emergency room physician, thought leader

A lot of attention is now focused on the harmful consequences of memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease for financial decision-making. And for good reason. But it is important to understand that dementia is bigger than Alzheimer’s, and Alzheimer’s is not just about memory loss.

Alzheimer’s is just one kind of dementia. Unfortunately, dementia comes in many forms. There’s vascular dementia, Lewey Body disease, frontal lobe dementia, etc. In fact, there are over 100 types of dementia, and Alzheimer’s accounts for (only) between 60-80% of all dementia cases.

Memory loss is but one symptom of Alzheimer’s. There are numerous consequences of Alzheimer’s, including having difficulty planning or problem-solving, confusing time and place, demonstrating poor judgement, and behaving impulsively. Here is the list of warning signs published by the Alzheimer’s Association. Memory loss is but one of ten symptoms.Other dementia symptoms may be more detrimental than memory loss for financial-decision-making. In a study that I helped design and manage at the Massachusetts General Hospital, we found that memory loss is not the only, and perhaps not even the most consequential, indicator of diminished financial decision-making capacity. Rather, deficits in executive function-related capacity, including the (in)ability to focus attention, plans and organize, “connect the dots” and control impulses, appear to be the greatest threat to good financial decision-making.

The frequency of dementia doubles every 5 years starting at age 60. And by the time we reach our mid-80s, we have roughly a 50% chance of having some form of dementia (which may or may not be Alzheimer’s). So, starting when we are in our 50s – 60s at the very latest – steps should be taken to prepare for what will be for most of us the inevitable onset of dementia.

Publishing permission granted by Chris Heye.
Originally Posted by Chris Heye, PhD on Jun 21, 2018 8:44:36 AM