A staggering 800,000 individuals in 2012 alone are estimated to have some form of dementia in the UK. It is also estimated that more than twice as many women will suffer from Alzheimer’s, along with other forms of dementia, than men. It is anticipated that many more people may be living with some form of dementia but have never received a formal diagnosis.
The early stages of these conditions can often go unnoticed. They may be passed off as some kind of ‘senior’ moment. However, slowly but surely, it is true that someone with dementia with gradually start to decline and deteriorate. Caring for someone with dementia can often be quite the undertaken and this care is left to the partner or children of the person suffering from the condition. Because informal carers are unpaid it is estimated that the care they provide saves the Government an average of £8 billion a year.
There have been a great many medical and scientific advancements made as it relates to treating Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. That is why it is crucial to push for a diagnosis as early as possible, even if it does seem like what you are witnessing is just another one of those ‘senior moments’. In fact, there are several different forms and types of dementia that are known to respond very well to drug therapy if caught as early as possible. This can help to delay the progression of the condition and allow you to keep your loved one for a little longer with a better quality of life. And with Alzheimer’s it does seem that one of the major goals in treatment is to keep the patient as comfortable as possible. By slowing down the progression of the disease, the individual may be able to take part in several normal life activities for much longer than they would if they weren’t able to receive some kind of early intervention services.
When you suspect your loved one is starting to fail in their mental capacity they will need to pass the managing of their financial affairs to someone who they trust is trusted. This person is most likely a very close family member of friend. This chosen person will need to ensure that they are always acting in the individual’s best interest. Turning over financial management can be done by simply establishing a lasting power of attorney. Lasting power of attorney does not always give the chosen person free reign over the patient’s financial life. In fact, there may be some restrictions in regards to the types of financial decision that can be made. There are no two situations exactly alike and the extensiveness of the power of attorney can be quite different in each possible scenario. However, each and every lasting power of attorney needs to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before they can be used. This would normally be done once it has been established that the person it covers is no longer considered to have the mental capacity to decide matters for themselves. There are guidelines that can help determine whether the person has lost their mental capacity. For example, someone can be deemed mentally incapacitated if they no longer understand the types of decisions they may need to make as it relates to their money. They may not be able to communicate clearly to articulate what it is that they want to see done. And communication does not have to be verbal. In fact, someone can still be deemed fit to make their own decisions if they are just able to squeeze a hand or blink an eye to make their wishes known. Lastly, a person can be deemed unable to make their own decisions if they are no longer able to weigh the pros and cons of any decisions they may need to make related to their money and financial situation.
So, once the dementia has reached a point where the individual is no longer capable of making sound decisions, the lasting power of attorney would take over the handling of all financial matters. Of course, that power of attorney must be dedicated to making the best decisions possible for the patient and must always keep the best interest of the patient in mind.
If these arrangements to appoint an attorney are not able to be made before the mental capacity is officially lost, an application would need to be made out and sent to the Court of Protection to arrange for a Court Appointed Deputy.