Dementia sucks, it's simple. But One million people in the UK will have dementia by 2025, and this will increase to two million by 2050, so thinking about our futures and protecting them while we can, has never been more critical.
Money, it's what makes the world go round, so it's essential to ensure that should you ever be unable to manage your finances that someone else can. Some people assume that a relative, husband or wife, can manage your finance if you are incapable, but that's just not true.
If you don't have a lasting power of attorney for finances in place and you can't act either in the short or long term. Your loved ones will need to apply to the court of protection for a Deputyship order. This is a slow process and can cost thousands. But it is an option, of course, it's quicker and cheaper to have an LPA, which is why so many financial experts promote the idea of granting LPA while you still can.
Health is a different matter. Again many people assume their loved ones will be the decision-makers if they can't, it's one of the most common things I hear "Well I'm her husband it's up to me what happens" …well, it's not, if there is no Lasting Power of Attorney in place the family, regardless of relationship, have limited decision-making rights. For the most part, most decisions are taken by professionals, Doctors, Nurses and Social Workers.
These professionals should always take into account their wishes, and any decisions they make have to be in the individuals best interests. Still, ultimately it will be a doctor, nurse or social worker that makes the decision. These decisions could be whether you are resuscitated, if you move to a care home or stay at home, they are life-changing significant decisions. If you have a lasting power of attorney in place, the friends or family you chose are the decision-makers. This way, your voice is not lost, and they can ensure decisions genuinely are made in your best interests.
But what happens if you don't have a family? Or they are elderly themselves? Well you can grant lasting power of attorney to a professional. But what's the difference between you appointing a specific expert to act as your attorney and just allowing the professionals to make best interest decisions without an LPA in place?
Well, an excellent professional attorney well takes time to get to know you. They will have those difficult discussions that no one wants to talk about, the "what would you want to happen if" questions. But an excellent professional attorney will also be interested in what makes you unique. Through life-story work, an attorney gets to understand the person they are acting for, all of their idiosyncrasies.
That way should your attorney ever need to make a decision it is based on your wishes and their knowledge of you as an individual, rather than just a medical assessment.
We visit many people in care homes across the country. For those without family or friends or an attorney, it has meant they are living in impersonalised care home rooms, with no reminders or keep-sakes and no connection to their past. A professional health and welfare attorney can avoid this situation from happening and ensure you have the very best care possible moving forwards.
Money is important, but ensuring decisions made enhance your quality of life is as essential.
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