Dementia and Money Obsession: Causes and Potential Cures

Written by the Nano Hearing Aids Team
Reviewed for Accuracy by Nano Hearing Aids.

Dementia and Money Obsession: Causes and Potential Cures

You may be thinking, what is it with dementia and money obsession? Although no exact reason is known, many have speculated that a dementia patient’s long-term memories of financial hardship and loss of control over life are what makes them obsessed over money. You can handle it gently with the help of a few steps and suggestions. 

 Dementia and Money Obsession

If you want to know more, you’ve come to the right place. Read along!

Understanding Dementia

Dementia is a widely observed sickness among older adults. The biggest misconception about dementia is that it’s a disease; however, it’s a general term for loss of cognitive functions, such as remembering, thinking, and reasoning. The most common symptoms are loss of memory, disorientation about time and place, and misplacing things.

Dementia is common among older people, but it is not a normal part of aging. At the extreme stage of cognitive function, dementia patients have to depend on others entirely. As dementia people face declining cognitive functions, they lose control over their own lives.  As a result, additional symptoms like paranoia, delusion, confusion, etc., are often observed. 

Dementia and Money Obsession

Dementia patients often show an obsession with money. The former statement is pretty vague and generalized, so let’s dive deep into what this means or entails.

What Money Obsession Can Be Masked As

You may notice dementia patients obsessing over money in several ways. The most common scenarios are claiming someone stole their money/card, calling everyone thieves, or claiming the bank has stolen their savings. If you are a caregiver to a dementia patient, you may also face the blame often. They may try to sell their belongings, claiming they don’t have enough money, which may be unnecessary and based on their symptoms and not their financial reality. 

They might refuse to spend or let you spend on necessary things such as food, utility bills, or medication. Accumulating and hiding cash, checkbooks, cards, etc., are common among dementia patients with money obsession.

Possible Causes

Although money obsession in dementia patients is often seen, there are no known possible causes. 

It’s speculated that the obsession stems from long-term insecurity. Elders have gone through quite some tragic global financial crises in their lifetime. Although they mostly have trouble with short-term memories, financial problems are rooted in their long-term memory. The memories of the hardship, paranoia, and delusion can make their financial focus extreme. 

Another reason that is considered is the loss of control. Dementia makes the patients lose control over most of their memories and life aspects. Subconsciously our brain is wired to think that money will help solve our problems and gain control over our lives. The dementia patient is not much different. Their paranoia and delusion add to these subconscious thoughts and make the patient overly obsessed with money.

What You Can Do to Help

Dementia patients need extra care; however, you can do a few things to handle their money obsession better.

Be Gentle And Empathetic

You need to keep in mind that they’re dealing with memory loss and declining mental stability. In any situation, talk to them gently and softly. Let them know you hear their concerns. Statements like “I’m sorry that you can’t find the (checkbook/money), “it must be upsetting that you can’t find your checkbook/money” can help them calm down. Offer them help, so they feel secure and don’t feel lonely or lost. 

Old Checkbooks

You can keep a few old checkbooks hidden away. When the patient gets worked up about money issues, calm them down by talking to them gently. Hear what they have to say. Hand them one of the old checkbooks. Ensure them that they have enough money and it is safe.

Small Bills 

Most dementia patients are senior citizens, and they care more about cash than cheques. You can hand them a few smaller bills. Seeing or having the cash/bills will help them feel secure and calm. A bundle of smaller bills will make them feel like there is enough money while calming them down. They can also use it if need be. 

Old Bank Statements/files

Dementia patients often distrust the bank, complaining the bank has stolen all their money. You can gather their old bank statements files for safekeeping and show those to ensure their savings are intact.

Although dementia is uncommon, it is cause for concern if you exhibit any of the problems described above. But don't give up; hearing aids can actually assist you manage with the issue.

When it comes to the best hearing aids for dementia, Nano Hearing Aids are incomparable, especially when compared to the cost of other similar devices. So, if you suspect you have this illness, you should seek treatment as soon as possible.

Bottom Line with Dementia and Money Obsession

Dementia and money obsession is a tough combination to handle. It stems from their long-term security/memory and fear of losing control over life. Be gentle and follow the tips mentioned above to make life easier.

Have any more questions? Let us know!

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: How many stages of dementia are there?
Dementia has seven stages. The first three stages usually do not exhibit enough symptoms to be diagnosed, stage 4 and beyond are considered dementia. Stage 4 is ‘early dementia,’ stage 5-6 are ‘middle dementia,’ and stage 7 is ‘late dementia.’

Q: What’s the difference between Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease? 
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disease. It has no known cause and causes gradual impairment of memory and cognitive function. Meanwhile, dementia refers to symptoms negatively impacting memory and mental stability. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia and affects about 60-80% of dementia patients.

Q: Is dementia genetic?
No, most dementia is not genetic and cannot be passed along. Some rare cases of dementia may have a strong genetic link. But generally, children or grandchildren will not inherit dementia. 

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