A legal expert has warned people to take steps to plan for the future, as Dementia Awareness Week takes place in the UK.
The national awareness week, running from May 15-21, is promoted by the Alzheimer’s Society, and is designed to encourage people who are worried about dementia to ask for information and support.
According to national statistics, in the UK there are 850,000 people with dementia, with this number set to rise to over 1 million by 2025.
Sean Aldridge of the Wills & Estate Planning team at Napthens solicitors, says the week is a timely reminder that people should do all they can to plan for the future. He added there are various legal methods to do this.
Sean said: “It’s important to have things in place to simply make life easier for both you and your family before a life-changing condition like dementia comes along.
“It is far easier to make sure that steps have been taken long before this point, while a person still has the capacity to make decisions, than wait until they cannot.
“For instance, Lasting Powers of Attorney, or LPA, can put plans in place to deal with both financial matters and health and welfare issues – often equally or even more important.
“We often recommend that an informal letter of wishes is kept with an LPA, setting out decisions and wishes of a more personal nature. For instance, someone may have a particular love for the garden or painting and would wish to receive support to continue these activities even when they may be unable to do things for themselves.
“Without an LPA, the Court of Protection would need to be involved, but the decisions the court can make are limited and the process can be time consuming.
“With an ageing population and more people likely to be impacted by dementia in future, it’s important to make plans while you are fit and well. A solicitor can help take a lot of the burden away at what could be a difficult time for a family.”
For more information on dementia, visit www.alzheimers.org.uk/remembertheperson