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Report Shows the UK is Unprepared for Incapacity

Elderly lady receives care

Recent research from Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) and Centre for Future Studies (CFS) has brought to light worrying issues concerning incapacity. The results show a surprising rise in dementia diagnoses and the predicted number of sufferers in the future. And, a poll by SFE indicates only 3% of the people surveyed have a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney in place (LPA). This suggests that 97% of people aren’t prepared for incapacity.

The research by CFS shows that 12.8 million people over the age of 65 are at risk of developing dementia. However, under 1 million have a Health and Welfare LPA. The analysis suggests that by 2025, the number of dementia patients could be well over 13 million. Many people believe they aren’t at risk, but in just ten years, diagnoses have risen by over 50%. Dementia is the biggest cause of death in England and Wales, accounting for 12% of all deaths in 2016.

Another concerning statistic the research revealed is a rise in strokes. There will be an estimated increase of 44% over the next twenty years. Strokes can result in a range of problems, such as limiting communication and motor functions. This often leads to a need for support.

These worrying statistics predict a huge growth in incapacity, as well as more problems for sufferers, over the next few years. Many people don’t have preparations in place, should they become unable to take care of themselves. Over 65% of the people surveyed believed their next of kin could make medical decisions for them, but this is untrue. Only doctors have authority to make such decisions on someone’s behalf, unless they have set up a Health and Welfare LPA. Without one, an already stressful situation can be made much worse.

And, it’s a common misconception that family and friends will know what someone wants if they lose capacity in the future. Only 21% of people have discussed their wishes with their family. However, this doesn’t mean they can have any influence without an LPA. The same is true with donating organs. Someone may be signed up as a donor, but it doesn’t ensure their organs will be donated. The only way to guarantee your wishes are carried out is with a Health and Welfare LPA.

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legally binding document. It allows you to appoint someone to manage your affairs if you no longer can. There are two kinds of LPAs you can choose from:

  • Health and Welfare – this allows the attorney you select to make decisions based on your healthcare. They can consent to medical treatments and decide where you will live.
  • Property and Financial Affairs – this LPA covers your bills, finances and property. You can choose to give your attorney power immediately or in the future with this LPA.

Want to learn more about how to plan for your future? Contact Severn Estate Planning today. We can help you understand and set up your LPA. Call us now on 01743 387990. Or, email us at enquiries@severnestate.co.uk to talk with one of our friendly advisors.