Planning ahead will be the only cure to future heartache
According to a recent story by the BBC experts have predicted 153 million people across the globe will have dementia by the year 2050. While that may feel a long way off, it’s actually the perfect time to be thinking about planning ahead.
A lifetime away
The Dementia Statistics Hub estimates that every two in 100 people in the UK aged between 65 - 69 have dementia. This figure then rises sharply to one in five between the ages of 85 and 89. These statistics show that today’s 38 year old will be 65 in 2050 - I bet you most 37 year olds are too busy thinking about their careers, kids, mortgages or caring for older relatives. Never mind the fact that age 65 when you’re just 37 feels like a lifetime away.
Actually, dementia can hit at any age and thankfully, numbers are being adjusted as education in contributory factors such as smoking and obesity - two things inextricably linked to dementia - have improved dramatically in recent years. However, the more research that is done into the disease is revealing more cases of early onset dementia in people as young as their 20s and 30s.
Think about tomorrow
It just goes to show the importance of planning ahead. You simply never know what sort of path life may throw before you - and indeed, it is not just dementia that can stop life in its tracks. The Covid-19 pandemic saw people become seriously ill, hospitalised and incapacitated, leaving loved ones stranded when it came to ensuring their relative received the right care and ensuring the bills were paid.
I’ve also seen in my own line of work how families become divided when a loved one suffers from an illness like dementia. It can be made worse where there are children from different marriages or relationships, causing a conflict of interest as to how someone is treated, where they should live and how living accommodation is paid for.
Keeping a sound mind
It is also worth remembering that documents like wills and Lasting Powers of Attorneys (LPAs) can only be written when you are of sound mind. There can be reasons to contest these if an individual believes, and a doctor agrees, that the donor was either co-erced or was suffering from an illness that could prevent them from being fully aware of the document they were signing.
That’s why I really would urge today’s 37 year old to take a break from their hectic schedule and think about the future. What if they were to suddenly become ill, who would pay the mortgage? Only by nominating someone (called an attorney) will enable someone to legally act on your behalf.
What about mum or dad? Are they approaching an age where it is time to open up these conversations?
It’s essential that families think ahead and make those plans today - because you never know what tomorrow will bring.
If you would like some advice or legal support, either about wills and LPAs or for dealing with conflict with loved ones, contact the Private Client team at Downs Solicitors to see how we can help.