The incapacity crisis – a disconnect

There is something of an unspoken topic in the headlines at the moment – that of mental incapacity and what we should do with respect to your wishes during future life.

Despite the growing concern among people in the UK today surrounding the deterioration of their own mental capacity, it seems we are still not planning for the future – a stark contrast when it comes to our finances, as these are more often in order.

You may have seen in The Times over the weekend, a story relating to research from the Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE). The findings revealed a worrying stance towards “an incapacity crisis” as they call it. In other words, this is the growing disconnect from those who are failing to plan ahead, should they lose their mental abilities.

From a legal perspective, it means it becomes more difficult to carry out an individual’s wishes for later on in life – and in some instances a number of affairs are left in the hands of perfect strangers. Sadly there is a growing need to draw attention to this. We’re all living longer for starters – and that in itself can plant the seed of “never never” in the minds of those who may still feel that later life is a long way off.

Most of us don’t like to think about disease, disability or even death – even though these are all things that have a profound impact on ourselves and our families. However, the result of us living longer is a rise in conditions such as dementia, which could leave us completely unable to make our own decisions.

I want to make clear here, I am not referring to decisions to assets and finances – but they need to be planned for too. On the whole, more people are making provisions for their finances. I am talking about wishes relating to our health and care.

SFE’s research found that more than three quarters of people involved in their survey has never spoken about personal medical care of wishes in the event of us losing mental capacity. Indeed we are a nation unprepared.

All it takes is a few simple measures. The SFE is currently championing a campaign on Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorneys and have released a white paper explaining the importance of having and an agreement like this in place. It will also give you and your family some peace of mind – you never know when you might need it.

For more information, contact Downs Solicitors to see how we can help.

Liz Dalgetty

Liz Dalgetty

Consultant Solicitor & Notary Public

Tel: +44 (0) 1306 502251

Office: Dorking Office

Email: [email protected]