Cognitive DeclineGetting old isn’t for the faint of heart. Not only is there physical decline – you can’t do the same activities that you used to be able to do – but mental decline is also inevitable. Eventually it will take all of us longer to do the same mental tasks we used to do easily. We will start to forget things more often. Sounds fun, right?
One interesting thing about cognitive decline is that it doesn’t present itself evenly. It’s not like you have 75% of your mental capacity all the time. It’s more like you might have 95% of your mental capacity 90% of the time. The rest of the time you’re easily confused and could make bad decisions.
Think about the ramifications of that. Even someone in the early stages of mental decline is vulnerable to bad decisions at least some of the time. This is why it’s important for families to make sure they have someone they can trust watching out for them.
For my older clients with children, it’s a great idea to start having one of their children attend meetings before the parents actually need the help with finances. That way they have the trusted team (the parent(s), child, and me) in place long before any cognitive issues appear. It also gives the parents an easier transition by allowing them to gradually hand off duties rather than have them taken away.
I like to joke that I misplace my glasses a lot already. The good news is that I find them in fairly normal places (bedside stand, table, counter, etc.). When I start to find them in the freezer, I’ll know I’ve hit cognitive decline. Obviously, I’ll have my trusted team in place before that. How about you and your family?