Elder Care Tips: Signs Of Diminished Mental Capacity And When You Should Be Concerned
Tips for Elder Care: Diminished Mental Capacity
As estate management, asset protection, and elder care attorneys, we make up a law firm that works with clients planning for their elder years. In this role, we meet families and individuals at varying ages and stages of life.
Very often we will work with our clients over a fairly long period of time. We get to see the aging process from a different perspective than do family members and caregivers who see their loved ones on a more regular basis. We go through major life-changing events with many of our clients, such as the loss of a spouse or a child.
When we start to observe obvious changes in mental capacity, or diminished mental capacity, we feel it is our responsibility to raise questions with the children or caregivers. In addition to the ability to make important decisions on their own behalf, we feel it is a necessary precaution to help protect our clients from the many forms of elder abuse.
If you are involved in elder care – have aging parents or are a caregiver – please be alert to the signs of diminished mental capacity, some of which follow:
- Inability to process simple concepts
- Memory loss
- Difficulty speaking or communicating
- Inability to understand consequences of decisions
- Decisions that are inconsistent with long-term goals or commitments
- Refusal to follow appropriate investment advice, especially when it’s consistent with previously stated goals
- Fear that funds are missing from their account, even when reviews show no money movements have occurred
- Disorientation with surroundings
- An uncharacteristic unkempt appearance
Additionally, signs of financial abuse include:
- You notice your parent’s mailing address has been changed to an unfamiliar or unexplained address.
- Changes to your parent’s will are being made without your knowledge
- A sudden isolation from friends and family
- Upon examination of bank and financial records you see unexplained or unusual disbursements from the account
If your loved one does not have a solid asset protection plan and is still capable of making important decisions, you could encourage them to establish a plan.
We work with people of all ages. Please give our office a call and let’s determine the best route for you and your family.
As you stay attuned to the mental capacity of your loved ones, please also keep in mind the following statistics from the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse which show:
- Women are twice as likely to be victims of financial abuse.
- Most victims are between 80 and 89, live alone or require some help with health care or home maintenance.
- Nearly 60 percent of perpetrators were males between ages 30 and 59.
- Victims were particularly vulnerable during the holiday season, when the need for cash was higher