Béatrice de Géa, writing for The New York Times has an excellent article on the problem…
Renee Packel used to have a typical suburban life. Her husband, Arthur, was a lawyer and also sold insurance. They lived in a town house just outside Philadelphia, and Mrs. Packel took care of their home and family.
One day, it all came crashing down. The homeowners’ association called asking for their fees. To Mrs. Packel’s surprise, her husband had simply stopped paying them. Then she learned he had stopped writing checks to his creditors, too.
It turned out that Mr. Packel was developing Alzheimer’s disease and had forgotten how to handle money. When she tried to pay their bills, Mrs. Packel, who enlisted the help of a forensic accountant, could not find most of the couple’s money.
One little quibble. I know that the shorthand way of referring to dementia is to equate it with “memory loss.” A more accurate description would be that he was “losing the cognitive skills needed to manage money.” Memory is just one part of that. Some might say that I am nit-picking but dementia will touch the lives of tens of millions of people in the decades to come and we need to understand it as clearly as we can.