Lasting powers of attorney can help protect dementia sufferers

LONDON, UK – MARCH 9TH 2014: Downing Street in Westminster, London onthe 9th March 2014.

Prime Minister Theresa May has announced a new drive to use technology and artificial intelligence to tackle debilitating diseases like dementia.

Speaking at the beginning of Dementia Week, organised by the Alzheimer’s Society, Mrs May said: “The United Kingdom will use data, artificial intelligence and innovation to transform the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease and dementia by 2030.

“The development of smart technologies to analyse great quantities of data quickly and with a higher degree of accuracy than is possible by human beings opens up a whole new field of medical research and gives us a new weapon in our armoury in the fight against disease.”

The announcement was welcomed by the Alzheimer’s Society, which says the need to find new treatments and methods of care is becoming more urgent each year. There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK today – this number is set to rise to 1 million by 2021 and the majority will be over the age of 65.

The society says that many people have to fight for months to even receive a diagnosis – which is essential to help them get the support and care they need.

A spokesman said: “The Prime Minister has recognised that harnessing the power of research, technology and charities together, we can make a step change in dementia understanding, care and support. Her announcement provides new hope to people affected by dementia.”

As well as health issues for sufferers, there are also practical matters relating to how their financial and business affairs should be managed.

Sufferers may have to rely on their families to make important decisions for them, but this can be difficult if legal arrangements have not been made in advance. Families may have to go through complicated court procedures to be granted authority to manage the sufferer’s affairs.

You may not be able to predict your future health, but it is possible to put procedures in place so that people you trust will be able help you if you do fall ill in the future.

The best way to do this is by setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). An LPA enables you to nominate someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf if you ever lose the ability to do so yourself through illnesses such as dementia.

The property and finance LPA allows you to appoint someone to look after your financial affairs and the personal welfare LPA lets you grant an attorney authority over such matters as health care and the kind of treatment you receive.

They give you the peace of mind of knowing that whatever happens in the future, your interests will be protected by people you trust and have chosen to represent you.

Please contact us if you would like more information about lasting powers of attorney.