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The Alzheimer's Dementia and Care Show 2023

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Friday 3rd March saw the annual Alzheimer's Dementia and Care Show at the Business Design Centre in London take place.

The show is the UK's dedicated exhibition and conference for Dementia and Care and features a wide range of care exhibitors, expert speakers, training and experiences from people who are affected by Dementia. There were some fantastic speakers and presentations from various companies who are able to assist people living with Dementia and one of the exhibitors was Dementia UK who are Chattertons charity of the year.

The current rate of Dementia diagnosis in the UK is 45%. This means that only 45% of people with Dementia currently have access to support. This figure pre-COVID was 66% so there has been a significant drop in diagnosis.

The challenges for people living with Dementia are progressive (similar to the disease):

  1. Getting a diagnosis – without a diagnosis there is no access to support
  2. Adjusting to live with that diagnosis
  3. Needing greater support with care
  4. Ending up in hospital (sometimes not even due to the Dementia)
  5. Needing an alternative home (usually going into care or moving in with a family member)
  6. Preparing for death

There are severe challenges in the system particularly in relation to the capacity to diagnose. There is 10 times less capacity in the UK per capita to scan for diagnosis than in Japan. The UK capacity is on a par with that in Mexico and the average time for diagnosis is 2 years.

1 in 4 hospital beds are currently occupied by someone with Dementia. Usually they are not being occupied because of their Dementia but rather because of another illness or because they have had a fall. Had the post-diagnostic support been right 1/3 of these could have been treated at home, thereby freeing hospital beds for others who might need them.

It is very clear that there is work to be done to assist people getting a Dementia diagnosis and opening up access to support.

Kate Twigg, Partner in Chattertons Private Client team, is the appointed 'Dementia Friends Champion' and has provided training across the Firm to staff ensuring the Firm caters for vulnerable clients. Kate said, “It is extremely important that people are aware of the implications of Dementia and understand that a diagnosis of Dementia does not automatically mean that the person does not have capacity. It is also very important that when the diagnosis procedure begins (or even better, prior to that) that you think about getting your affairs in order for that time when you may have lost capacity.”

Consideration should be made about reviewing your Will. It is very important that your Will is updated and administers your estate in the manner that you wish. When the Dementia progresses to the point that you no longer have any capacity it will be too late to change your Will and if you do not have a Will then it will be up to the government to dictate how your estate will be distributed under the rules of Intestacy. It is also important to bear in mind that the rules of Intestacy make no provision for unmarried couples or step-children.

In addition to reviewing your Will you should consider putting a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place. There are two types of LPA, one for your financial affairs and one for your health and welfare. These documents allow you to nominate a person or people to manage your affairs in the event that you become unable to do so for yourself. It is particularly important from a health perspective that someone is appointed as they will be the person who will liaise with adult social care about any care needs that you may have in the future, as well as liaising with doctors about your health care.

If you were to lose capacity without a Lasting Power of Attorney for financial affairs then it would be necessary for an application to be made to the Court of Protection for someone to be appointed as your deputy. This is an extremely expensive and lengthy procedure. The Court of Protection will no longer appoint Deputies to manage a person's general health and welfare so it would be up to the doctors and adult social services to make all decisions about health and care going forward. They are under no obligation to discuss these issues with your family.

Get in touch

If you would like to discuss your options please do get in touch with a member of the Wills, Trusts & Probate team.

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