A new study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the University of Michigan and the Federal Reserve Board of Governors found that Medicare beneficiaries who go on to be diagnosed with dementia are more likely to miss payments on bills as early as six years before a clinical diagnosis.
The study also found that beneficiaries diagnosed with dementia who had a lower educational status missed payments on bills beginning as early as seven years before a clinical diagnosis as compared to 2.5 years prior to a diagnosis for beneficiaries with higher educational status.
The study, co-authored by IHPI members Kenneth Langa, M.D., Ph.D., and Julie Bynum, M.D., M.P.H., also found that these missed payments and other adverse financial outcomes lead to increased risk of developing subprime credit scores starting 2.5 years before a dementia diagnosis. Subprime credit scores fall in the fair and lower range.
The findings, published online November 30 in JAMA Internal Medicine suggest that financial symptoms such as missing payments on routine bills could be used as early predictors of dementia and highlight the benefits of earlier detection.