Published: November 8, 2010
To the Editor:
“Money Woes Can Be Early Clue to Alzheimer’s” highlighted the ethical challenges individuals face when cognitive functioning diminishes in our aging population. The impaired individuals are unable to recognize the limitations in handling their financial, legal and personal care needs.
Although they may be able to mask the early warning signs to family, friends or colleagues in the workplace, the outcome can still result in financial loss and diminished self-esteem.
I am an elder-care specialist who is routinely called upon to confront identified capacity issues in older adults. It is clear that the task reveals a myriad of ethical issues. Intervention is essential.
Baby boomers must face the reality that seniors are living longer and that cognitive impairments may develop over time. Education about warning signs of diminished capacity, the knowledge to seek intervention and the courage to address the issue are vital in protecting our elderly.
Planning ahead and seeking professional advice to understand the complicated facets of dementia and elder care are our best defense to protect older adults from financial abuse and neglect.
Keeping our head in the sand can have devastating results and tarnish the lifestyles for those in their golden years.
New York, Oct. 31, 2010
The writer, a clinical social worker, is an elder-care specialist.