The time after a diagnosis of dementia can be difficult and confusing with emotions running high. There are a number of important arrangements that need to be made to secure the future of the individual diagnosed.
There are around 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia, and numbers are predicted to increase to over 1 million by 2025. There is a wealth of support available for dementia-sufferers in order to ensure they receive the support and their needs are met.
At Foys, we understand the pressure and confusion following a diagnosis so we’ve put together this guide to inform you of the help that is available which you can use to formulate an action plan. The following areas need to be considered:
It is important to sort out and organise all your paperwork, ensuring that that it is easily accessible. This would include documents related to banking, mortgage, insurance policies, pension, stocks, investment etc. Seek legal advice from Foys’ specialist solicitors who have a wealth of experience in setting up a trust that will be beneficial to you now and in the future.
Support is available for managing your money at dementia friendly banks such as HSBC. From keeping track of your spending to helpful ways to protect your money such as Voice ID, HSBC staff are ‘Dementia Friends’, trained to help people living with dementia. You can also nominate a family member or a friend to support you with your account at present or in the future. They can carry out numerous activities related to your account including withdrawing cash and obtaining bank statements. For more information, contact your local HSBC bank. Some options depend on certain circumstances and require legal authorisation such as a lasting power of attorney – Foys can help you set this up.
If you have been diagnosed with dementia, you are required to inform the DVLA immediately; failure to do so can result in a fine of £1,000 or prosecution in the event of an accident. Your car insurance provider also needs to be informed. Depending on the doctor’s instruction, the DVLA will decide whether a person suffering from dementia can continue to drive and if so, they will be issued with a new driving license. In some cases, the doctor and the DVLA may declare that the individual can no longer drive and as a result, their licence will be revoked. The cases vary depending on every individuals’ personal circumstances. For more information, visit the Alzheimer’s UK page on Driving with dementia.
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows you (the donor) to nominate a trusted family member or friend (the attorney) to make legal decisions on your behalf when you lose the mental capacity to do so. There are two types of LPA’s, one regarding your property and financial affairs and the other related to your health and welfare. Through the health and welfare LPA, your attorney will be able to make arrangements for your daily care, medical care and even decide to move you into a care home. This can only happen when the donor has lost the mental capacity to make these decisions for themselves.
Having an LPA is important to protect your affairs ensure your needs are met when you are no longer able to communicate them. At Foys, our specialist solicitors strive to act in your best interests and will help you draft an LPA.
Making a will
Though it may seem like a morbid affair, a Will is very important to protect your future. A Will allows you to decide how you want you want your estate to be distributed after you pass as well as specific other wishes you may have. If you pass away without a Will, your family or loved ones may be faced with difficulties and emotional distress as the courts will decide what happens to your estate through a lengthy process called probate.
Foys understands and champions the protection of the elderly and can help you to ensure your needs are met when the time comes.
You can also consider a Living Will. A Living Will allows you to state your wishes related to end-of-life medical care in the circumstance that you are unable to communicate your needs. Dementia affects your ability to think, remember and communicate clearly as well as make sound judgement and decisions; over time this can worsen resulting in a loss of mental ability. Through a Living Will, you can assign instructions for your care and even refuse certain treatments before your dementia progresses. While we can help you with writing a Living Will, it is important to consult with your doctor before making any decisions regarding your treatment.
Those living with dementia and their carers may be entitled to benefits depending on a range of factors such as income or income. It can be a complex process as the forms to apply for the benefits can be lengthy and confusing. There are different types of benefits available including attendance allowance and carer’s allowance as well as general state pensions and housing benefits. We can support you with your application for claiming benefits to ensure you’re receiving all the financial help that’s available to you. For further detailed information on the different benefits, read the dementia guide by the Alzheimer’s Society UK.
Care needs assessment
In order for the local authority to understand your needs and the non-medical support you require, an assessment called a community care assessment should be arranged through the social services or your GP. The process includes a discussion with those involved in your care such as family or friends as well as a questionnaire (not always) to detail your living and care situation. With this information, social services will assign a social worker to plan the care you require. In some cases, you may be allocated a personal budget to help with covering some of the costs of your care service.
Stay active and stay healthy.
It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle after your diagnosis by staying active, having a balanced diet with the essential nutrients and avoiding consumption of unhealthy options. Regular check-ups with your doctor, dentist and optician should also be arranged. A live-in or home care supporter can help to ensure your wellbeing and support you with the changes.
Foys Solicitors can help you make arrangements after your diagnosis of dementia
At Foys, our elderly care solicitors can provide legal advice and support for making arrangements after a diagnosis of dementia. We offer a free initial consultation where we will discuss your needs and explain the best next steps are.
For a free initial consultation or more information on our employment law services, contact your local Foys office. Alternatively, you can email us at email@example.com or complete our Contact Form.
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This post is not legal advice and should not replace professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances. It is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.
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