Most people, when asked to name a symptom of Dementia, automatically think of memory loss – yet there is so much more to dementia than impaired memory. Dementia is not a natural part of our ageing process, it is a disease of the brain that can affect a person’s visual-spatial skills, orientation, emotions and language, as well as their ability to organise.
In the UK there are currently about 850,000 people living with dementia. The disease primarily affects people over the age of 65 – in this age group one in 14 people has dementia. But dementia does not only affect the elderly: statistics show there are more than 42,000 people under the age of 65 suffering from the disease across the UK.
In an effort better to understand the impact dementia has on individuals, families, and communities, we looked to the Alzheimer’s Society for some advice on how to support those of our clients who suffer from the disease. As a result, George Ide’s private client department attended dementia-awareness sessions run by the national charity. After being trained to understand better what dementia is and consider ways in which we can help people living with the disease, many of us pledged to become Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friends.
As a firm, we have also raised funds for Chichester Dementia Support, a local charity undertaking an innovative project to create a support facility in Tangmere that will offer a complete service for individuals and carers including memory assessment, day care and well-being therapies, as well as providing information, advice and guidance.
Understandably, fear of developing dementia is behind many of our clients’ decisions to draw up Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA). A LPA is a legal document which appoints attorneys to help the donor make decisions or to make decisions on the donor’s behalf. Such a document can prove to be invaluable if, for example, a donor has an accident, suffers illness, or develops a disease that renders them unable to make their own decisions thereafter. If a person’s mental capacity is impaired before a LPA has been put in place, it may be necessary for the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy to make decisions on their behalf, which can be distressing, time-consuming and costly.
To discuss the legal aspects of living with dementia, or for more information about the Court of Protection and deputyship, please contact George Ide’s private client department on 01243 786668 or email us at [email protected]
Leanne McGauley. Solicitor, private client department.
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