Choice, not Chance

Choice, not Chance

07 Mar 2019
A new report from Solicitors for the Elderly and independent think tank, Centre for Future Studies, has revealed that that a huge 99% of people here in Yorkshire have not made provision for a loss of capacity in later life.
The report looked at the ever-increasing number of people in our region who are living with dementia. This, combined with a failure to plan ahead for potential mental incapacity, risks leaving significant medical and care preferences to chance.

The research found that 77% of people in Yorkshire are worried about developing dementia and losing the ability to make decisions for themselves and 75% of people have not spoken about, or even considered, making provision for medical and end of life decisions.

Here at Hartlaw, we encourage you to tackle the taboo, to discuss your wishes with your loved ones and to put legal provisions in place to prevent a crisis if you should become incapacitated in the future. We are committed to ensuring that all of our staff are trained Dementia Friends and we understand, professionally and personally, what a difference planning ahead can make for the friends and family of our clients who are living with dementia.

Planning ahead is surrounded by worrying misconceptions, especially in relation to health and care preferences. A staggering 65% of people incorrectly believe that their spouse automatically has the right to specify what they would want if they were not able to speak for themselves. In fact, these potentially life-changing medical and care decisions can be taken away from loved ones.

The simplest way to ensure that your wishes are heard is to have a registered Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney in place. This is a document, made whilst you have full capacity, and which appoints someone you trust to speak and make decisions for you in the future, at a time when you can no longer do so yourself. Our team of specialist lawyers can guide you through this process.

There are currently 928,000 Health and Welfare LPAs registered with the Office of the Public Guardian across England and Wales, compared to the 12.8 million people over the age of 65. By 2025, it’s calculated that 15.2 million people will be at risk of mental incapacity and it’s estimated that just 2.2 million Health and Welfare LPAs will be in place. The health and welfare wishes of the remaining 13 million people may never be heard.

The message is clear - Act now and start a conversation with your loved ones about end of life topics, remove the stigma surrounding these discussions and don’t leave matters to chance. 

If you would like to discuss later life planning, contact the team at Hartlaw on 01937 547018. Our expert lawyers can guide you and help you to ensure that your voice is always heard.

By Rachel Saunders, solicitor at Hartlaw LLP and full accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly.