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Aging Ment Health. 2004 Jul;8(4):374-80.

Awareness of financial skills in dementia.

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Department of Psychology, University of Victoria, BC, Canada.


The present study examined the relations among levels of cognitive functioning, executive dysfunction, and awareness of financial management capabilities among a sample of 42 community-dwelling persons with dementia. Financial tasks on the Measure of Awareness of Financial Skills (MAFS) were dichotomized as simple or complex based on Piaget's operational levels of childhood cognitive development. Severity of global cognitive impairment and executive dysfunction were significantly related to awareness of financial abilities as measured by informant-participant discrepancy scores on the MAFS. For persons with mild and moderate/severe dementia, and persons with and without executive dysfunction, proportions of awareness within simple and complex financial task categories were tabulated. Significantly less awareness of financial abilities occurred on complex compared with simple tasks. Individuals with mild dementia were significantly less aware of abilities on complex items, whereas persons with moderate/severe dementia were less aware of abilities, regardless of task complexity. Similar patterns of awareness were observed for individuals with and without executive dysfunction. These findings support literature suggesting that deficits associated with dementia first occur for complex cognitive tasks involving inductive reasoning or decision-making in novel situations, and identify where loss of function in the financial domain may first be expected.

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