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Returning to Channel 4 this week was another heart-warming episode of ‘The Restaurant the Makes Mistakes’. This series follows 14 people, all living with dementia as they work at a restaurant in Bristol. The ground-breaking experiment teaches us about the various forms of dementia that so many people in the UK suffer with and so far, is proving that with the right support and adjustments many people may be able to continue in the workplace after a diagnosis of dementia.

 

Alzheimer’s is one of the most common forms of dementia. It is the cause of 60-70% of cases of dementia and so far there is no cure or treatment. Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and gradually worsens over time; however it can affect different people in different ways. Typically it affects people over the age of 65 however some people as young as 20 can suffer from dementia.

 

So, when a family member is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or a form of dementia there are bound to be many things you want to put in place to protect them.

 

  • Obviously it is vital that you put in place a care plan. Depending on their needs or the severity of their disease, they may need round the clock professional care, or they may need a schedule of visitors to ensure they are OK day-to-day.

 

  • You will also need to consider if they are safe to stay at home, if any adaptations need to be made or if they will need to move into a residential home to cater for their needs.

 

  • Ensure that their emotional needs are supported. Coming to terms with a diagnosis of dementia can be very difficult.

 

  • It is also very important to ensure that they are protected legally. Once someone has lost their mental capacity to make big decisions about their finances, property or welfare it can be more complicated to take action.

 

Appointing someone the responsibility to make decisions on their behalf is a good way to ensure that no matter how their dementia progresses that your loved one is taken care of and that legal matters can move forward smoothly.

Are your loved one’s legal affairs in order?

 

If they already have wills and LPAs in place; are they valid? Are they up to date? Do they reflect their wishes? These may have changed since writing their will. Were the documents written professionally? And do you know where they are kept?

 

If they are yet to write a will or put in place a Lasting Power of Attorney then time is off the essence. This can still be done and instructions taken directly from the client if a GP is happy they are capable of making such decisions. If left too late families would need to apply to the Court of Protection to make one-off decisions on their behalf, which can be time-consuming, complicated and costly.

 

An LPA is a legal document that allows you to set out in advance who you entrust to make decisions for you when the time comes that you are no longer able to do so. There are two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney. One that covers finances and property (for example managing bank accounts, making withdrawals, managing pensions, buying / selling property). And one that covers health and welfare (for consent for medical treatment, personal care and living arrangements). Depending on your own circumstances and your loved one’s diagnosis, one or both may be beneficial to give you peace of mind.

 

One issue that the Channel 4 programme has raised is the young age that people can start to suffer from Alzheimer’s. Symptoms can be harder to pin point as many people are still working or suffering from stress, which can mask signs of early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Here are 10 signs to look out for:

 

  1. Memory loss
  2. Loss of vision
  3. Difficulty completing tasks
  4. Misplacing items often
  5. Trouble finding the right words
  6. Trouble making simple decisions
  7. Mood or personality changes
  8. Withdrawing from social events
  9. Struggling with times and places
  10. Difficulty solving problems

 

If you are concerned about how dementia might affect you and want to ensure your legal affairs will be looked after should you or a family member lose capacity then please get in touch.

 

Our experienced team of specialist private client lawyers are members of Dementia Friends and attend training and updates on how to communicate and work with sufferers. They are also STEP qualified (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners), meaning they are well equipped to offer advice and assistance to elderly or vulnerable clients.

 

Call our compassionate Private Client team on 01256 844888 or email enquiries@lambbrooks.com and someone will get back to you promptly.

 

 

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice.  The law may have changed since this article was published.   Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.