Thursday, 12 July 2018

Plan ahead for later years

A Telford solicitor has backed a campaign urging families to prepare for their later years to help avoid a possible dementia crisis.

Fiona Mainwaring, of Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Euston Way, said a report published by the Solicitors for the Elderly organisation warned that the UK was “sleep-walking” towards a dementia disaster.

“Around 12 million people in the UK who are at high risk of losing mental capacity have made no provision whatsoever for their future. This means millions of people have not planned ahead to ensure their wishes are followed and yet it’s very simple to do – you need to take professional advice and make a lasting power of attorney (LPA).

“The person you appoint will ensure that your wishes are followed if you cannot make decisions for yourself about your health, your financial affairs and about any ongoing care needs you may have.”

Mrs Mainwaring said a coalition of partners including AgeUK and the Alzheimer’s Society had been set up amid warnings of a looming “incapacity crisis”.

The Solicitors for the Elderly report, which was published in conjunction with the Centre for Future Studies, said research showed that 12.8 million people over the age of 65 run the risk of developing dementia.

“And yet, there are only 928,000 LPAs currently registered – by 2025, around 13.2 million people will be at risk but only 2.2 million LPAs are expected to be in place. It’s clear that the situation is untenable and it’s vital that more people plan ahead because otherwise, the UK care system will be overwhelmed and millions of people will lose their chance to shape their own future.

“Start a positive conversation with your family and friends about your future welfare, and seek out a family law solicitor to find out how to put a plan in place. This will make the decision-making process much easier for everyone.”

Charity director at AgeUK, Caroline Abrahams, agreed saying it was advisable to set up an LPA well in advance.

“You can specify what decisions you are happy for your attorney to make on your behalf, and you can also choose more than one attorney who could be a family member, a friend, spouse, partner or civil partner, or a professional adviser such as a solicitor.”