Dementia Action Week commences on 17 May 2021 and aims to raise awareness and improve the lives of those affected by Dementia.
Just because a person has dementia, they do not necessarily lack the mental capacity to make decisions about their health, property and finances. They may lose capacity as they deteriorate or they may have the capacity to make some decisions but not others, for example, they may not be able to make complicated financial decisions but may be able to decide what food to buy.
There are things that you can do to protect your rights should there come a time when you have lost your mental capacity to make important decisions.
In short, mental capacity is the ability to understand and make a decision when it needs to be made. It can be difficult to determine and only a healthcare professional can confirm whether someone has lost mental capacity.
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 helps to make sure that people who may lack mental capacity to make decisions on their own get the support they need to make those decisions and, where they are unable, the Act states the decision must be in their ‘best interests’. The Act a checklist to help decision makers decide.
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
LPAs are legal documents, signed when you have mental capacity, that allow a person you have chosen to make decisions for you if you have lost the mental capacity to do so. Therefore, should you receive a Dementia diagnosis it is important that you register LPAs as soon as possible.
There is one document for health and welfare decisions and another for property and financial decisions.
Please note, your husband, wife or civil partner does not have the right to make these decisions for you once you have lost capacity. Therefore, it is vital that you have LPAs in place.
You may wish to write an advance statement while you have mental capacity. An Advance Statement is not legally binding but can be used to set out your wishes and preferences concerning your future health or social care. The purpose is to provide a guide for those who may need to make decisions in your best interests should you lose capacity.
An advance decision is a legally binding decision made, while you still have mental capacity to do so, to refuse specific medical treatment for a time in the future when you may lack capacity to either consent to or refuse that treatment. If those circumstances arise, healthcare professionals must adhere to the decision.
If you would like further information, have any questions or are interested in arranging LPAs please contact one of our wills, probate and powers of attorney lawyers who will be happy to assist.