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Government steps up UK’s fight against dementia

Posted: 10th April 2015   In:

The government is stepping up the UK’s fight against dementia, which it sees as one of the main health issues facing the UK over the next 20 years.

Prime Minister David Cameron has launched, Challenge on Dementia 2020, as the next phase in the effort to tackle the debilitating illness.

The most important measure will be to invest more than £300m over the next five years into research and medical innovation. There are also plans to set up an international dementia institute to make the UK a world leader for research and medical trials.

All NHS staff – some 1.3m people – will be required to undergo training in dementia so that people have the know-how and understanding to provide the best possible standards in care, from hospital porters to surgeons.

The government also wants to train three million more ‘dementia friends’. These are members of the public who are trained to understand about dementia and how best to support people who have the condition.

As the population ages, dementia is a growing problem. It’s estimated that within 10 years, there will be one million sufferers in the UK.

Mr Cameron said: “Dementia is one of the greatest challenges of our lifetime. Because of the growing strength of our economy, we can invest in research and drug-development, as well as public understanding, so we defeat this terrible condition and offer more hope and dignity for those who suffer.”

It is encouraging to see such comprehensive measures being put in place to tackle dementia, but as
well as health issues for sufferers, there are also practical matters relating to how their financial and business affairs should be managed.

Sufferers may have to rely on their families to make important decisions for them, but this can be difficult if legal arrangements have not been made in advance. Families may have to go through complicated court procedures to be granted authority to manage the sufferer’s affairs.

You may not be able to predict your future health but it is possible to put procedures in place so that people you trust will be able help you if you do fall ill in the future.

The best way to do this is by setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). An LPA enables you to nominate someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf if you ever lose the ability to do so yourself through illnesses such as dementia.

The property and finance LPA allows you to appoint someone to look after your financial affairs and the personal welfare LPA lets you grant an attorney authority over such matters as health care and the kind of treatment you receive.

Please contact Nigel Gibson Birch if you would like more information about Lasting Powers of Attorney.