February 26, 2019
Regular readers of our blogs will know I have written a number of articles about the importance of making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) to help you prepare for life’s unexpected and unfortunate events.
I am a fully accredited member of the organisation Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE), a specialist group of lawyers who support and make a difference to older and vulnerable people.
Earlier this year, SFE published a report entitled ‘The incapacity crisis - a nation unprepared.’ The report is quite heavy on facts and figures and I just wanted to focus on some of them which are quite alarming.
The report highlighted that dementia is overtaking heart disease as the nation’s leading cause of death and that the UK is facing an incapacity crisis, caused by the increasing numbers of us facing incapacity without planning ahead for what might happen in this event.
SFE’s research showed that over half a million people have been diagnosed with dementia, but this figure is estimated to be around 850,000 when taking into account undiagnosed sufferers.
Statistics also show that, in the period from 2005/6 to 2016/17, the number of people diagnosed with dementia in the UK increased by 53.4%.
Perhaps we associate loss of mental capacity with dementia and, more particularly with older people. However, we should not forget that dementia is not only limited to the elderly and nor is it the only cause a losing one’s mental capacity. Other causes, such as strokes, can cause us to lose capacity at much younger ages.
As I have mentioned before, to help prepare for what life may throw at us, there are two types of LPA:
Whilst the numbers of people making LPAs are increasing, most are for personal assets and finances rather than for our health and welfare.
The SFE figures demonstrate why, to ensure complete protection, we should not just limit our later life planning to finances – our health, care and wellbeing are of equal importance.
If you are concerned about what may happen if you lose capacity and wish to make clear to your loved ones what your wishes and intentions are over issues such as medical treatment, end-of-life wishes, care and living arrangements should you lose capacity, a Health & Welfare LPA really is worth seriously considering.
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