This week is Dementia Awareness Week, and it is reported that around 850,000 people are currently living with Dementia in the UK. The Alzheimer’s Society is looking at the issues with regard to the social care system within the UK and how this affects not only people with Dementia but their families who are struggling to provide the support and care that is needed.
Whilst this spotlight aims to deal with an inadequate and underfunded care system, there are other key ways to support people with Dementia in the meantime.
It is important that people with Dementia have support and representation, not only relating to their financial affairs but also in respect of health and welfare matters. If a person does not have Power of Attorney in place when they lose capacity, an application can be made to the Court of Protection for a deputy or deputies to be appointed to manage their financial affairs. Whilst it is unusual for the Court of Protection to grant a blanket health and welfare Order, representation can be made to deal with any health and welfare aspects that are currently an issue. The reason for this is that the Mental Capacity Act 2005 already gives powers to the NHS and Social Services to deal with matters in respect of a person’s medical treatment, care and residence.
There are also routes through the Court of Protection that would allow a person living with dementia to still consider estate planning, applications in respect of gifting or maintenance of another person and even a Will or required amendments to an existing Will. A lack of capacity does not mean that these measures cannot be carried out if they are reasonable and necessary. It is important to note that attorneys and deputies do not have such powers without an application being made to the Court of Protection.
There are numerous organisations who can provide independent advice about care and welfare issues. More details can be found in the links below.
Our Private Wealth team includes solicitors who specialise in advising elderly and vulnerable clients. Several members of the team volunteer as Dementia Friends and are members of Solicitors for the Elderly. We have specialist experience advising on Court of Protection and Powers of Attorney matters to ensure that a client’s needs are met and wishes are carried out.
Other useful websites for support:
These notes have been prepared for the purpose of articles only. They should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice.