Geriatrics experts report in the Annals of Internal Medicine that treating older patients means doing more than just treating their physical conditions. Doctors can be a first-line defense to help senior citizens from losing their control over their finances.
Age-Associated Financial Vulnerability (AAFV) can result from health-related issues, including dementia, hearing or vision loss, or mental states like fear or loneliness. There could also be some cognitive changes impacting everyday math skills or reasoning that can be discussed to help prevent seniors from becoming victims of financial scams or theft.
Of course, money matters should not be medicalized. But experts recommend that medical personnel discuss these issues if they notice that their patients might need some help. It can be helpful to bring up the issues of assigning a power of attorney for anyone who is worried about money matters. Evidence of money management problems might be an early sign of some cognitive decline. Doctors are encouraged to include assessment of financial vulnerability along with regular comprehensive assessment of falls, mobility, daily living skills, isolation, and other cognitive changes.