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Are we facing a dementia crisis and if so how can we plan for it?

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Are we facing a dementia crisis and if so how can we plan for it?

It is widely thought that the UK is heading towards a dementia crisis with millions of people failing to take steps to prepare for losing mental capacity, a solicitors organisation has warned. A recent report by Solicitors for the Elderly warns that around 12 million Britons are at a high risk of future incapacity and have not planned ahead to ensure their wishes will be followed by preparing a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).  

This comes against the backdrop of a sharp increase in people being diagnosed with, or at a risk of being diagnosed, with dementia. The report, published in conjunction with the Centre for Future Studies (CFS), notes that research shows that 12.8 million people over the age of 65 run the risk of developing dementia. Worryingly there are only 928,000 LPA’s currently registered. It is thought that by 2025 around 13.2 million people will be at risk but only 2.2 million LPA’s are expected to have been put in place.

More than one third of people admit to not having made any provisions for later life such as writing a will or creating an LPA. The provisions of these can be tailored to suit the client’s needs both now and in the future and are relatively low cost documents to produce particularly when you consider the alternatives and the costs involved in obtaining a Court of Protection order and preparing a Statutory Will through the court after capacity has been lost. 

Lakshmi Turner, the Chief Executive of Solicitors for the Elderly, said: ‘Far too few of us are planning ahead for our health and care needs and wishes, leaving this to chance. It’s time to set the record straight. Planning ahead by talking to family or friends shouldn’t be seen as doom and gloom, it’s about having a positive conversation about welfare, empowering your loved ones and making the decision-making process easier for everyone.’

Jill Rushton is a senior associate solicitor and is a member of Solicitors for the Elderly. Jill recognises the need to plan ahead with clients and regularly provides advice on Wills and LPAs. If you would like to discuss making a Will or LPA then please call us on 01616 966 229.