Life expectancy is increasing. This is obviously a positive development but sometimes good news brings with it other complicated issues.
As well as ensuring that we have enough money to live on in retirement (changes to State Pension rules/ ages and automatic enrolment are aimed at addressing this), there is an obvious extra strain being placed on the NHS. A major impact is the increasing occurrence of dementia. This is a much-discussed subject which will be a major issue for future generations. It’s a subject that this and future Governments will definitely have to address on an ongoing basis.
According to figures released by Dementia UK 7.1% of all people aged over 65 are suffering from dementia. By age 80, one in six of us will be affected.
As well as the actual dementia sufferer, there is also a major impact is on loved ones. Where someone is caring for their spouse, they may feel like they are now married to ‘a different person’. Often the spouse will experience a downturn in their own health, a consequence of the work and worry involved in looking after their partner.
Whilst some of these issues are difficult to address, there is an area that we can plan for in advance. Someone with Dementia is not likely to able to deal with their own financial affairs or make reasoned decisions about their future medical care. Someone will need to do this for them, but if they haven’t planned ahead, this situation is likely to be made much more difficult.
One way to plan ahead is to set-up a Lasting Power of Attorney. This means that if someone were to lose mental capacity, their appointed Attorney has the power to make decisions in their best interest. This can save a lot of time and stress at an already difficult time.
But it’s not only where dementia is involved that a Lasting Power of Attorney is useful. None of us knows what our future holds and there are many scenarios that might cause a loss of mental capacity, the most obvious being a serious accident.
So, planning ahead is smart move. The consequences of not doing this, could be very serious.
Neil Dainton Dip PFS
This information is provided strictly for general consideration only. No action must be taken or refrained from based on its contents alone. Accordingly, no responsibility can be assumed for any loss occasioned in connection with the content hereof and any such action or inaction. Professional advice is necessary for every case.