N.Y. Times Highlights Financial Mismanagement as an Early Dementia Symptom


The New York Times spotlighted how financial mismanagement is an early indicator of young-onset dementias like FTD in an article published April 29.

The article highlights the story of Maria Turner, 53, a retired critical care nurse diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy along with evidence of FTD and Alzheimer’s. Turner bought a $20,000 truck on eBay and forgot about it the next day. While she was fortunately able to dodge that financial crisis, it didn’t stop her from racking up purchases on her credit card, buying dozens of pairs of shoes, hospital scrubs, and garden gnomes.

Turner, like many others experiencing the symptoms of FTD and other young-onset dementias, struggled with responsibly managing her money. According to the Times article, long before receiving a dementia diagnosis, many people start to lose their ability to manage their finances and make sound decisions. Individuals with young-onset Alzheimer’s were up to 27 percent more likely than “cognitively healthy” people to experience a large decline in their liquid assets — such as savings and checking accounts, stocks, and bonds — according to a study published in Health Economics.

Pam McElreath, 67, is living with FTD. For decades, McElreath was the bookkeeper for the insurance company that she and her husband owned, the Times reported – but in the early 2000s, she began making critical financial mistakes such as forgetting to pay the premium on her husband’s life insurance policy. After being diagnosis with FTD in 2017, McElreath had to relinquish all control of financial decisions.

“At first I was mad, and I went through this dark time,” McElreath told the Times. “But the more that you come to accept your problem, the easier it is to say, ‘I need help.’”

Read the full New York Times article here.

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