In our high-tech world, banking can be a complicated process and it's all too easy to spend money online or on the phone. Dementia causes problems with thinking, memory and planning, making it difficult to look after family finances. In fact, a survey showed that more than three-quarters of people with dementia say that they have struggled with managing money.
Martin Lewis, from MoneySavingExpert.com commented on the Alzheimer’s Society’s research into this subject saying:
‘Shamefully it reveals these vulnerable people are being conned out of at least £100 million. In fact, this figure is likely to be much higher as financial abuse often goes unreported. This is money that could be helping them live a good quality of life. It is money that could be used to pay for vital help with washing, dressing or eating and retaining their dignity.’
Dementia and money managementThe way we spend and manage money has changed. Cash is no longer king, both buying and banking are performed online. With contactless and credit cards, money can disappear in seconds. This can be a challenge for people with dementia, who may need support to balance their books and stay safe from scams and financial abuse.
Dementia and scamsHaving dementia can affect your understanding and judgement. This puts people at risk of abuse by scammers, cold-callers and other unscrupulous individuals. Elderly people are also more likely to live alone, so might be more vulnerable.
The problem is, when someone is affected by dementia, they may not appreciate that financial abuse has happened, or they may be too ashamed to share their experience. One woman, who cares for a parent with dementia told hometouch:
'My mother was excited, she told me that she'd made a holiday investment. When I looked at her bank accounts, there was a regular monthly card payment for a holiday scheme, sold to her online several months before. She was not able to go away, because she had a bad injury and she didn't understand the system at all.
It was very difficult to get out of the 'investment' and she was incredibly embarrassed and upset by the whole experience. I didn't want to take away her card, because that was part of her independence but she seemed to be on the call lists of lots of dodgy companies. It was a very frightening and frustrating time.'
Unforgettable.org reports that '80 percent of phone scam victims are over 55', which is a worrying statistic. Balancing a loved one's autonomy with keeping them financially secure can be difficult, however there are ways of helping to maintain their safety.