The UK will use its presidency of the G8 to host the first global dementia summit this month.
Estimates suggest that dementia will affect one million people in the UK by 2020, prompting Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to ensure the country is ‘leading the charge’ against this ‘global challenge’. Hunt insists that the summit, to be held on Wednesday, December 11 2013, will bring about real progress in the shape of a shared commitment from all involved and a definitive plan of action. Planning is essential in tackling the problems caused by dementia on an individual basis too.
What can you do to plan for the impact of dementia?
One of the issues caused by the ageing population, both globally and in the UK, is the rise in the number of people suffering from dementia. Understandably it is something people do not like to think, or talk, about unless it is absolutely necessary. However, this only adds to the problem further down the line.
There is a common misconception that if a person is unable to deal with their affairs because of dementia, their finances can be automatically managed by relatives. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Even a spouse is unlikely to be able to deal with an institution on behalf of their incapacitated spouse without an Order of the Court of Protection.
This can be a costly and time consuming process which only adds to the emotional stress the illness causes. This is why it is so important to seek advice and enter into a Lasting Power of Attorney while in good health and when the person granting the Power is able to understand the authority they are granting.
Unfortunately, if the dementia is so advanced that a person can’t understand the Power then it is not possible to have one and a Court application would be necessary. People can prepare their own Powers of Attorney through the Office of the Public Guardian website but we are on hand to offer expert advice too, either to ensure the Lasting Power of Attorney is effective and workable in practice or with applications to the Court of Protection. It is important that people are aware of this growing problem and can make plans to ensure unnecessary emotional and financial turmoil is avoided.”