Aretha Franklin had her first number one hit in 1967. But when she died last week at age 76, there was no way to respect her wishes regarding her $80 million estate. That's because like so many celebrities, she never got around to writing a will.
According to Alzheimer’s Research UK, the number of people with dementia is on a rapid increase.
Figures provided by the charity, predict that by 2025, one million people in the UK will be living with dementia and by 2050 this figure will have doubled.
Dementia effects 850,000 across the UK, some areas have a greater number of people living with dementia.
The highest percentage area of population living with dementia is Christchurch and the lowest is Bradford.
Jeremy Hughes CBE, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society, added,
“People with dementia have the right to make choices about their care, just like anyone else.
Making someone they trust their attorney for health and welfare is one of the ways people can do this. Health and Welfare LPAs provide reassurance to them and the act of creating one can start useful conversations about the future with family and friends”.
Many living with dementia reach a point where they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves.
These shocking statistics have led to call to ensure more people are aware of LPAs. Many People with dementia will eventually reach a point where they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves- this is known as lacking ‘mental capacity’.
When this happens someone else often a carer or family member will need to make decisions on their behalf.
The research also shows that, while there are currently 12.8 million people over the age of 65 who run the risk of developing dementia, there are only 928,000 Health and Welfare LPAs presently registered with the office of the Public Guardian across England and Wales.
These statistics suggest that almost 12 million people at risk of future incapacity haven’t planned to ensure their wishes are followed. Based on the predicted increase in dementia, by 2025 there will be 13.2 million people unprepared for the increased risk incapacity.
Commenting on the findings, Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, has advised that people set up an LPA well in advance.
“You can specify what decisions, you are happy for them on your behalf and you can also choose more then one attorney who could be a family member, a friend, spouse, partner or civil partner or a professional such as a solicitor”.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that enables you to appoint a third party to handle your affairs, should you lose the capacity to make decisions for yourself.
Crucially, this appointment can only be made when you are mentally fit and well. Leaving it too late can mean that trusted relatives and friends are powerless to make decisions for you.
Have you done yours?