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Identifying & Dealing with Dementia

Ten Ways to Tell If an Elder Is Losing It

Concerned about an elder?  The Alzheimer’s Association highlights ten early signs of dementia:

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life.  This does not mean losing your keys once in a while or blanking on a name, but consistently forgetting recently acquired information.
  2. Issues with planning or solving problems.  If someone is suddenly having problems paying bills or following recipes, they may have an issue with cognitive impairment.
  3. A difficulty with familiar tasks.  Family members may notice that the house is dirty or that routine responsibilities like cooking, making beds, or taking care of a garden go undone.
  4. Confusion about time and place.  The distant past may seem more real th people with dementia than the here and now.
  5. The trouble with visual cues and spatial relationships.  People with Alzheimer’s often have problems judging distance, so a spate of fender benders may be an early clue.
  6. Problems with words.  In ability to think of a name of a common object – or calling it something else – can indicate early stage cognitive decline.
  7. Misplacing things and not being able to retrace steps.  Be on the alert if elderly people cannot find things by thinking about where they last saw them.
  8. Decreased or poor judgement.  This is a big one since it makes elderly people vulnerable to fraud and bad financial management.     
  9. Withdrawal.  When people are not doing things they love or connecting with long-time friends and loved ones, it can be a sign of cognitive decline.
  10.   Changes in personality.  Paranoia, irritability, impatience, and fearfulness can all be indicators of mental impairment.


What Kinds of Elder Fraud Are Most Common

Third-party abuse exploitation                                            27%

Account distributions                                                         26%

Family member, trustee or POA taking advantage                 23%

Diminished capacity                                                           12%

Combined diminished capacity & third-party abuse                12%

Elder exploitation                                                               5.70%

Friend, housekeeper or caretaker taking advantage               <1%

Excessive withdrawals                                                        <1%

SOURCE: North American Securities Administrators Association

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