An alarming number of Coventry and Warwickshire residents are putting decisions about their later-life care out of their control despite rising levels of dementia cases.
A Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) study has revealed that a staggering 98 per cent of people in the region haven’t drafted formal agreements on who they’d like to make decisions about their care should the need arise – that’s despite 80 per cent of people admitting they are worried about dementia and losing the ability to make decisions for themselves.
Moreover, 81 per cent of people haven’t discussed end-of-life medical care wishes, which could be put down to the fact that 70 per cent of people across Coventry and Warwickshire wrongly assume that their spouse automatically has the right to make decisions for them.
The findings come as the number of people diagnosed with dementia continues to rise. By 2025, the Alzheimer Society’ Dementia UK Report estimates that the number of people living with dementia will surpass one million.
Michelle Gavin, head of wills trusts and probate at Coventry-based solicitors Band Hatton Button Solicitors and SFE member, is urging people to put together a Lasting Power of Attorney to formalise their wishes.
“Entering later life without a Lasting Power of Attorney is like playing Russian roulette with your welfare, because if you get struck with an illness that affects your mental capacity, what happens to you is out of your hands,” said Michelle.
“If this happens before an LPA has been formalised, then a friend or family member will need to apply to the court to be granted the ability to be a deputy to make decisions for them.
“This is costly and can be time-consuming, particularly if more than one person decides to apply to make decisions on a person’s behalf.
“Many people see ramnifications for years after a family member is stricken with mental incapacity, which is why it is important to seriously consider planning ahead in case the worst happens.”
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