Mild Cognitive Impairment: Gateway to financial elder abuse?

Much has been made of the new redefinition of Alzheimer’s disease — the first in 27 years — which incorporates research that shows Alzheimer’s actually starts affecting the brain years before the most commonly known dementia phase of the disease.

Most experts agree that although we are still quite a way from any sort of standardized medical tests for early detection, the new definition is a critical step in the right direction.

If nothing else, the new guidelines issued by the National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer’s Association are creating awareness of mild cognitive impairment…

Experts say there are at least as many people experiencing this phase as the 5.4 million people estimated to have Alzheimer’s dementia. And they expect others to now ask their doctors if they are showing signs of mild impairment, which include experiencing some difficulty or inefficiency with memory, attention or other mental faculties, while still being able to function independently.

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The renewed focus on mild cognitive impairment is critical because during this diminished mental state — when an aging parent appears to be functioning “normally,” but is experiencing failing memory or judgement — it is very easy to miss just how vulnerable they can become.

Most adult children don’t understand how easy it is for aging parents with mild cognitive impairment to get into trouble while driving, or to become the victim of financial elder abuse.

It is easy to mistake Dad’s forgetfulness or Mom’s confusion for what often passes as normal signs of aging. For more info about symptoms of mild cognitive impairment, click here.