Ryde-based law firm, Churchers Solicitors, has backed a recent report that revealed a staggering 97% of people living in the South East have not made necessary provisions should they lose mental capacity in the future from conditions such as dementia.
The study, conducted by Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) and independent think tank Centre for Future Studies, has found that the UK is leaving medical and care preferences to chance. The report looked at the ever-increasing number of people who are living with dementia and compared this to the number of people who have made such provisions in case this happens to them in later life.
Focusing specifically on the South East, which includes the Isle of Wight, findings show that while 75% of people are worried about dementia and losing the ability to make decisions for themselves, only 3% have a legal document in place that appoints a trusted individual to look after their affairs if they can no longer do so themselves.
This presents an issue that a growing number of people are not receiving their preferred care.
Churchers Solicitors has strongly backed this report.
Faye Evans, Partner at Churchers Solicitors and accredited SFE member, said:
“This report has highlighted that people living in the South East are leaving important decisions about their own health and wellbeing to chance, rather than having conversations and planning ahead for the future.
“Discussing your wishes with family members and loved ones shouldn’t be limited to how your affairs will be managed after you’ve passed on – it should also include what will happen should you lose capacity to make choices about your own health and wellbeing.
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“The study found that 68% of people are unaware that their next of kin cannot specify what they would have wanted if they lose mental capacity. These decisions are out of the hands of close relatives or friends if legal provisions have not previously been put in place.
“We are seeing more and more families seeking advice because relatives have left it too late to put Lasting Powers of Attorney in place. This causes significant distress for both the individual and the families concerned as they then struggle to ensure that their loved one’s wishes are followed.
“Using an expert, qualified solicitor to help ensure you have a robust, all-encompassing legal document in place is the first step to protecting your future health and wellbeing.”