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Dying Matters and Dementia Week highlight importance of planning ahead

Experts at regional law firm Napthens solicitors are highlighting the importance of planning properly for later life as two national awareness weeks arrive.

Dying Matters Week runs from May 8, and Dementia Awareness Week from May 14. Dying Matters is run by the organisation of the same name to encourage people to talk about dying, death and bereavement. This year the awareness week aims to get people more active in planning for the future.

Dementia Awareness Week is run by the Alzheimer’s Society and is designed to raise awareness, offer help and understanding and improve care.

Georgina Smith, solicitor in the Wills & Estate Planning team at Napthens in Kendal, is a Dementia Champion through the Alzheimer’s society, encouraging others to learn a little more about the condition and create more dementia-friendly communities.

She has run workshops at the Napthens offices for volunteers to learn more, and is also a member of Dementia Action Alliance groups in the region.

Georgina said one key way of planning for the unexpected is through a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). She said: “Dementia is still seen as an issue faced by the elderly but many people who are much younger have been diagnosed and are learning to live with the condition.

“It can be an extremely distressing time for the person who has been diagnosed but also for the family.

“It’s therefore important that the person and the family understand what support is available along their journey and also the need to make sure the relevant safeguards are put in place for the future when circumstances are likely to have changed.

“We encourage people to consider a Lasting Power of Attorney which achieves several things. Not only will it make sure that the relevant paperwork is in place, but will also be an opportunity for the person to consider what they would want to happen in the future.

“An LPA will allow them to make the decision themselves and have their say about how they want to live their life, if they are not able to communicate those feelings later.

“These awareness weeks are a great opportunity to learn more and for people to see what they can do in their communities to help people living with this condition that is becoming more and more common in the UK.”

Georgina Smith, Wills & Estate Planning Solicitor