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Assessing financial competence in older adults with cognitive impairment
conference contributionposted on 2004-01-01, 00:00 authored by Mavis Kershaw, L Webber
One common problem brought before Courts and Tribunals in Australia is whether or not someone is able to manage his or her own financial affairs. The problem is that currently in Australia there are no universally agreed upon standards for assessing financial competence. The aim of this study was to examine the reliability and validity of a new measure of financial competence, The Financial Competence Assessment Inventory (FCAI), in assessing financial competency of older adults with a cognitive impairment. The sample comprised 18 older adults with acquired brain injury, 10 adults with schizophrenia, 21 adults with dementia and 27 older adults without cognitive impairment. Ages ranged from 55 to 91. Each participant was individually interviewed using the FCAI. The findings revealed that the FCAI is a reliable and valid assessment tool for assessing financial competence of older adults with different types and levels of cognitive impairment. In particular, the FCAI was able to distinguish between older adults with global brain impairment and older adults with specific brain impairment; and older adults who had a legal administrator and older adults who did not. In addition, using the FCAI it was possible to obtain a profile of participants’ strengths and weaknesses across six domains of financial competence including; everyday financial abilities, financial judgment, estate management, cognitive based financial tasks, debt management, and support resources. The FCAI has the potential to assist clinicians and legal decision-makers regarding ‘least restrictive alternatives’ when financial competence is in question.