Most people these days have some connection to a dementia story. It’s easy to see why when the Alzheimer’s Society states that there are 850,000 people living with some form of dementia in the UK today. 225,000 will develop dementia this year alone- that’s one every three minutes!
by Beverley Jenkinson
I, too have a Dementia story. My late Mother in law had vascular dementia. Following her diagnosis I began researching the subject reading lots of articles and trawling the internet in my quest to know more about the disease and how I could best support her.
My research led me to attend an Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends Information Session. The session takes about an hour – I just had to turn up and watch a presentation in order to become a ‘Dementia friend’. It’s very simple and the sessions are offered all over the country. What was really poignant was the realisation that people can live well with dementia and the session is about learning how to help people to do that. People really can ‘live well’ with Dementia and the more awareness there is the better. You can even sign up to watch the presentation online.
There are so many wonderful organisations out there to help both those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. I’ve listed a few at the end of this article that have been useful for me and my partner. I am keen to share my experience so I will be writing about this in the future.
One thing that was really important in caring for my mother in law was that, thankfully we had a Lasting Power of Attorney in place. A power of attorney is a legal document that allows someone to make decisions for you, or act on your behalf, if you’re no longer able to or if you no longer want to make your own decisions. It’s something where you chose who you would like to make decisions for you (your attorney).
There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorneys – one for property and financial decisions and one for health and welfare decisions. A Financial LPA covers all the things that you might think it would - buying and selling property, paying the mortgage, investing money paying bills and arranging repairs to property. The Health and Welfare LPA covers health and care decisions and can only be used once you’ve lost mental capacity. To have mental capacity means you are able to make or communicate specific decisions at the time they need to be made. In making your decision you need to understand why you are making it and what the implications of it are to show that you have mental capacity. A Power of Attorney needs to be set up before you lose capacity.
We all should have a Power of Attorney- waiting till there’s a diagnosis can be too late. Once you’ve done your Lasting Power of Attorney – it’s done , there’s no need to revisit it. So if you do end up with something such as dementia your appointed Attorneys can sort things out for you as you would want. This gives you a choice-you’ll have your attorneys making decisions for you, people whom you trust rather than someone who doesn’t know you. In our case we had a power of attorney which meant that we could deal direct with the banks, utilities, house insurers and also speak to hospital staff and the care home. As my mother in laws dementia progressed she needed extra help and having the power of attorney was a life saver especially as she ended up in hospital after a fracturing her femur which resulted in all sorts of changes to her life.
If you are interested in having a lasting power of attorney we can take the pressure off by doing all the necessary paperwork and ensuring all the paperwork is correct. You provide us with the necessary information and we can do the rest – we even offer a fixed fee for this service to give you Peace of Mind. If you want to know more give us a call on 01273 327272.