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It's time to talk about dementia and make plans

View profile for Emma Stride TEP
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... before it’s too late.

FACT: 1 in 3 will develop dementia

Dementia might not be the most jovial of topics - thinking or talking about it, let alone planning ahead for its possibility by means of a lasting power of attorney (LPA), makes a lot of us feel uncomfortable. So, we ignore it and then we don’t have to deal with it.

But we have to stop the ‘ostrich syndrome’ now and take mental capacity seriously.  

The reality is, it could happen to you – to be more precise, sobering statistics tell us that currently 1 in 14 over 65 have dementia and 1 in 3 people born in the UK this year are estimated to develop dementia in their lifetime.

Furthermore, a shocking new report warns that the UK is heading for an ‘incapacity crisis’.

Dementia Crisis

The organisation Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) recently published a study that indicates around 12 million people at high risk of future incapacity are failing to take steps to prepare for losing mental capacity, which will throw the UK into a ‘dementia crisis’ .

SFE’s partner in the study, the Centre for Future Studies (CFS), noted that research shows there are currently 12.8 million people over the age of 65 who run the risk of developing dementia, yet there are only 928,000 health and welfare (H&W) LPAs currently registered.

Moreover, the report suggests the gap is only set to widen, with someone developing dementia every 3 minutes – on the basis of current trends, by 2025 13.2 million people will be at risk with only 2.2 H&W LPAs estimated to be in place.

A coalition of partners’, including AgeUK and the Alzheimer’s Society, has now been set up and has warned of a forthcoming ‘incapacity crisis’.

Unaware of the risks

The study also revealed that a staggering 65% of us incorrectly believe that our next of kin has the right to make important medical and care decisions on our behalf – they do not.

So, ask yourself this: if you were unable to make a decision yourself (due to mental incapacity), would you want a complete stranger to decide where you live, whether or not you are resuscitated or whether your organs are donated, for example?

#choicenotchance

Why leave such life-changing decisions to chance, when you can express your specific wishes and ensure they are followed?

It’s time to break the taboo.

Have the conversation with your loved ones – make it positive, involve and empower them, and help make the decision-making process easier for everyone at what could ultimately be a difficult and distressful time in the future.

Then seek specialist legal advice and take action: get your health and welfare lasting power of attorney in place now.

Expert advice, here to help

At Susan Howarth & Company, we know that such topics can seem complex, confusing and daunting which is why we run a FREE legal drop-in clinic every Wednesday for Wills, LPAs and Probate.

Alternatively, you can make an appointment with Emma Stride, our Head of Wills & Probate and also a member of STEP (The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners)  .

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get the information you need to make the best decisions for you and your family – it’s what we’re here for.

For more details, call us on 01606 48777.

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