Online Monitoring Tech Examines How Financial Behaviors Change with Age

Dr. Kathy Wild has been providing neuropsychological evaluations and caregiver support at the Layton Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Center for over 30 years. Dr. Wild is the principal investigator for the E-FIND study.

Financial capacity is the ability to make and carry out meaningful and sensible financial decisions in a way that can support one’s health and well-being. Research has shown that impairment in financial capacity is one of the earliest functional changes in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which can be a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Unfortunately, impairments in financial capacity can put older adults at risk of financial abuse or exploitation.

Identifying changes in older adults’ financial capacity could provide a way to detect early signs of cognitive impairment and protect financial well-being. Recent developments using online automated monitoring of financial transactions might offer older adults and their families a new way to identify the earliest signs of cognitive decline, while providing protection from fraud and abuse and supporting independent living.

The new E-FIND study, funded by the National Institutes of Health and conducted by the OHSU Layton Center and ORCATECH (Oregon Center for Aging and Technology), will use an established online technology to test whether realtime tracking of financially-related transactions can predict early cognitive and functional decline. The study will use secure online technology to link ongoing financial activity monitoring data, with other objective measures of daily activity and thinking, in a group of independent-living older adults.

Our aim is to test how well realtime tracking of financially-related transactions can predict early cognitive and functional decline.

Participants will receive free secure online financial monitoring for 12 months as part of the study. The technology is designed to detect errors or irregularities, and will issue alerts if significant changes in patterns of financial activity (such as a large cash transfer) are discovered. It is our hope that through this research project we will better understand the association between a critical – but complex – activity of independent living (financial capacity), and early changes in thinking that may be a sign of cognitive decline or dementia.

Would you like to know more? We are currently enrolling volunteers, ages 70 and older. Please contact Jennifer Marcoe at 503-928-7292 or marcoej@ohsu.edu.

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