Care crisis and the Government
Dame Barbara Windsor (who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014) has sparked renewed calls for the care crisis to become the top priority of the Government, by backing an Alzheimer’s Society open letter to the prime minister.
The letter is supported by some shocking figures. Alzheimer’s Society has predicted that the number of people living on their own with dementia, will double from 120,000 to 240,000 by 2039. The overall number of people living with dementia is predicted to reach two million by 2051. This begs the question; who will make decisions for a person, if they are no longer able to do so, because of a condition like dementia?
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) are two of the most important documents a person can make in their lifetime. However, uptake for completing and registering the documents is very low, with less than 1% of the population holding one according to the Office of the Public Guardian.
The importance of these documents, which allow the appointment of a trusted person (or people) to look after another’s finances and/or health and welfare, should not be underestimated. With the ageing population and record diagnoses of dementia, it’s more important than ever to consider making an LPA.
If someone does not have a valid LPA and they lose mental capacity, the alternative is for the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy. This is often more costly and time consuming than making a LPA and means that the person often has little or no control over who is appointed to act for them.
Rebecca Dixon is a solicitor in the private client department at Barker Gotelee, Ipswich solicitors.