Helping those with dementia on World Alzheimer’s Day 2022

21 September 2022

At Redkite solicitors, we continually recognise and support those living with Alzheimer’s. Sharing knowledge and legal guidance is how Redkite solicitors continue to educate those uninformed about the disease. We also offer a range of legal services that influence the quality of life experienced by those living with Alzheimer’s. You can read more about the legal solutions that we provide later in the article.

On World Alzheimer’s Day, we aim to highlight the impact that dementia has on those living with Alzheimer’s. The disease is known to affect memory and decision-making and even change the way a person thinks. For this reason, there are serious implications for their health and safety.

A wealth of information about the disease and its consequences is accessible via the Alzheimer’s Society website. This charity regularly offers up-to-date information to guide and inform those directly and indirectly affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

Legal services that our solicitors provide:

Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative form of dementia characterised by changes in behaviour, memory loss, and confusion. Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of growing old, yet it continues to account for up to 80% of dementia cases in the UK, with one person being diagnosed with the disease every three minutes.

Alzheimer’s can entirely change the mental processing of an individual, often creating concern over their ability to take care of themselves and others. Without a cure or an effective treatment, the degenerative nature of the disease often means that the individual will, unfortunately, lose the ability to make decisions in their best interest. At this point, it is important to appoint an individual who will make decisions on their behalf. This can be done by the court, lasting power of attorney, or advance statement.

The Court of Protection will ensure that any person nominated to take care of an individual living with dementia is capable of fulfilling their best interests. Whilst this ensures the appropriate care is provided, the application process and court proceedings are long and complex. Working with a professional solicitor is the most effective way of taking care of your loved one’s needs.

At Redkite Solicitors, we offer the following services that can positively affect the lives of those living with Alzheimer’s. Learn more below, or contact us today for more information.

– Lasting Power of Attorney

Some early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include memory loss, difficulty making decisions, and struggling with organisation. Dementia is a progressive disease, so it will only become more challenging to make decisions over time. The sooner you consider appointing a lasting power of attorney, the sooner you can ensure that decisions are made the way you would choose.

A lasting power of attorney is a legally binding document that states a trusted individual who will make decisions on your behalf should you lose the mental capacity to do so yourself. There are two types of LPAs for financial matters and healthcare-based decisions. A donor can appoint one attorney to cover all of these decisions, or they can nominate several individuals with specific instructions.

The LPA gives your attorney the authority to decide where you live, how your money is spent, or whether you will receive life-saving treatment. They will only start making decisions once you are incapable of doing so yourself. By appointing a trusted attorney early, you have the opportunity to discuss how you like decisions to be made in the future.

– Court of Protection

The Court of Protection is a branch of the UK government that aims to protect the welfare and financial decisions of individuals who lack mental capacity. Dementia is a progressive disease that can deteriorate quickly. For patients with Alzheimer’s, the opportunity to legally resolve who should make decisions on your behalf may never occur. The need for legal intervention may arise once the individual loses their mental capacity and it is not agreed upon who should make decisions on their behalf.

To protect the interests of those without their mental capacity, the Court of Protection will decide who is deputised to make decisions on their behalf. This process can be complex and time-consuming due to the significant forms and medical certificates that must be obtained and sent off. Working with a legal professional during this process will support your case and ensure the process is completed quickly to best support the individual living with Alzheimer’s.

Once granted deputyship, an individual is given the legal capacity to make ongoing decisions. This may include applying for a lasting power of attorney as a long-term solution. The deputy would also be able to make decisions regarding finances, property, and healthcare for the individual.

– Wills and Probate

A written will is a legal document that defines an individual’s wishes regarding the distribution of their estate after the event of their death. For the will to be valid, the individual writing the will, or testator, must have testamentary capacity. This means that the testator needs to understand what a will is and its impact on close friends and family members. Individuals living with Alzheimer’s who lack mental capacity cannot write a valid will.

If a person doesn’t have a will before losing their mental capacity, the Court of Protection can create a statutory will on behalf of the testator. One must make an application with the relevant forms to begin this process. Working with a qualified solicitor will ensure that your loved one’s best wishes are taken care of.

– Advance Decisions and Advance Statements

For those living with dementia, or specifically Alzheimer’s, planning ahead is important to ensure that your future wishes are fulfilled. We’ve covered several methods of doing this so far. Advance statements and advance decisions are other methods of care planning.

An advance decision, or living will, states an individual’s choices about their healthcare treatment. This may include refusal of particular treatment or medication. The document lets your family, carers, and doctors know your wishes, should you be no longer able to communicate your choices.

An advance statement is a different document which is not legally binding, unlike the advance decision. This document can cover decisions regarding any future health or social care. It is considered that those caring for the individual should take the statement into account during decision-making, but it is not legally enforceable.

Specialist legal guidance for individuals and families living with Alzheimer’s

If you, or someone you know living with Alzheimer’s, require any legal support, don’t hesitate to contact Redkite Solicitors. We take a holistic approach to each of our cases to ensure that the best interests of those involved are always taken care of as quickly as possible.

For those with early onset dementia, or families of an individual living with Alzheimer’s, we understand that the changes happening around you are challenging and emotional. At Redkite solicitors, we offer our support and professional expertise to bring you or your loved one’s best wishes to action.

Working quickly and without complication is vital, especially when there is a lack of clarity regarding the care of the individual living with Alzheimer’s. To avoid distress and complete the process quickly, contact Redkite solicitors to find out how we can help.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.