Financial capacity in older adults: a growing concern for clinicians

Paul A Gardiner, Gerard J Byrne, Leander K Mitchell and Nancy A Pachana
Med J Aust 2015; 202 (2): 82-85. || doi: 10.5694/mja14.00201


  • Older people with cognitive impairment and/or dementia may be particularly vulnerable to diminished financial decision-making capacity.
  • Financial capacity refers to the ability to satisfactorily manage one's financial affairs in a manner consistent with personal self-interest and values.
  • Impairment of financial capacity makes the older individual vulnerable to financial exploitation, may negatively affect their family's financial situation and places strain on relationships within the family.
  • Clinicians are often on the front line of responding to queries regarding decision-making capacity, and clinical evaluation options are often not well understood.
  • Assessment of financial capacity should include formal objective assessment in addition to a clinical interview and gathering contextual data.
  • Development of a flexible, empirically supported and clinically relevant assessment approach that spans all dimensions of financial capacity yet is simple enough to be used by non-specialist clinicians is needed.

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  • Paul A Gardiner
  • Gerard J Byrne
  • Leander K Mitchell
  • Nancy A Pachana

  • University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD.



This project was funded by a National Health and Medical Research Council dementia grant (511119).

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

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