To investigate financial capacity in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) using a clinician interview approach.
Tertiary care medical center.
Healthy older adults (N=75), patients with amnestic MCI (N=58), mild AD (N=97), and moderate AD (N=31).
The investigators and five study physicians developed a conceptually based, semi-structured clinical interview for evaluating seven core financial domains and overall financial capacity (Semi-Structured Clinical Interview for Financial Capacity; SCIFC). For each participant, a physician made capacity judgments (capable, marginally capable, or incapable) for each financial domain and for overall capacity.
Study physicians made a total of over 11,000 capacity judgments across the study sample (N=261). Very good inter-rater agreement was obtained for the SCIFC judgments. Increasing proportions of marginal and incapable judgment ratings were associated with increasing disease severity across the four study groups. For overall financial capacity, 95 percent of physician judgments for older controls were rated as capable, as compared to only 82% for patients with MCI, 26% for patients with mild AD, and 4% for patients with moderate AD.
Financial capacity in cognitively impaired older adults can be reliably evaluated by physicians using a relatively brief, semi-structured clinical interview. Financial capacity shows mild impairment in MCI, emerging global impairment in mild AD, and advanced global impairment in moderate AD. MCI patients and their families should proactively engage in financial and legal planning given these patients’ risk of developing AD and accelerated loss of financial abilities.