Doctors Can Overlook Financial Vulnerability of Older Patients
A new report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that both consumers and medical professionals need to pay closer attention to the decline in the ability of older patients to manage their finances.
The report’s authors, researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College in New York and Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, coined the condition “age-associated financial vulnerability.”
The researchers described age-associated financial vulnerability as a pattern of behavior related to money that places an older adult at substantial risk for a considerable loss of resources. It also might result in dramatic changes in their quality of life and in making different choices than they might have made when they were younger.
Factors that can contribute to financial vulnerability, the scientists noted, include cognitive or emotional decline, impairments in vision, hearing or mobility, serious progressive illness, and social isolation. Certain diseases and medications can also contribute to cognitive decline and make it harder for older adults to manage their money.
The researchers recommended that medical professionals need to ask their patients about financial vulnerability the same way they talk about other age-related problems, such as mobility issues, cognitive changes and safe driving.