70% Of Adults Worried About Dementia But Very Few Doing Anything About Their Finances and Legal Issues
New research shows that despite seven in 10 people saying they are worried about developing dementia, only five per cent of the population have done any financial and legal planning to deal with the issues of capacity.
Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth carried out a survey of 2,000 adults in the UK and found that three quarters of people worry about getting old but eight out of 10 admit they have no idea what causes dementia and a further 40 per cent are unaware of any dementia symptoms.
It is believed that 850,000 people in the UK have dementia, and that is expected to rise to more than two million by 2051.
Stewart Stretton-Hill, a specialist lawyer who advises the elderly and vulnerable at Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth, said: “The research shows that despite many people being concerned about aging and developing dementia, the vast majority haven’t done anything to prepare for their later life in the event they should suffer an illness or accident that affects their capacity.
“Very few people have a lasting power of attorney (LPA) in place but failing to do so can cause a legal headache over who should be making decisions in future because no one has an automatic right to make decisions for someone else. Family and friends may dispute who is best placed to make the big decisions about finances and potentially healthcare and the court of protection would need to be involved.
“An LPA takes away that worry but it’s really important that people making a will or LPA speak to their family members and explain their decisions and wishes. This can avoid lengthy disputes in future as their intentions are less of a shock and people know what to expect.”
“An LPA gives an individual the right to manage the most personal aspects someone’s life. It is the most important of their life so it is essential to get it right.“
The research also looked at the triggers in life at which people begin to feel old. Becoming forgetful, groaning when you get out of a chair – and looking for glasses without realising you’re wearing were the most common triggers for feeling your age.
The average adult starts to worry about getting old at the age of 40, with losing your keys and a receding hairline among the triggers for that concern. Other signs of getting older include temporarily forgetting a child’s name and using the phrase “When I was younger…”
And eight in 10 respondents admit to walking into a room and forgetting why they’d entered, with one in five saying it happens often.
The survey was conducted to coincide with this year’s Dementia Awareness Week, 15 – 20 May 2017, which is being held to encourage people who are worried about dementia to confront their worries by addressing dementia directly and talk to each other as well as seeking support from the Alzheimer’s Society.
As part of Dementia Awareness Week law firm Irwin Mitchell has trained 470 lawyers to become official ‘Dementia Friends’ who are more aware of the issues facing those who develop the illness.