Only 5% of Brits prepared for mental capacity issues

Recent research has indicated that only 5% of the population have capacity related preparations in place.

This is despite obvious dementia-related worry which was felt by the majority of people asked, with the Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth research indicating that seven in ten people expressed concern about developing the condition in later life.

Responsiveness to national campaigns such as Dementia Awareness Week indicates that there is an interest in further understanding the condition, especially the given the level of understanding which the figures suggest. Although around three-quarters of respondents stated that they were worried about getting old, 40% of the 2,000 people asked said that they were unaware of any dementia symptoms. Eight out of ten confessed that didn’t know what caused dementia.

At present, there are an estimated 850,000 people with dementia, a figure which is predicted to rise to over two million in just three decades time.

Commenting on the research was Stewart Stretton-Hill from Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth. The specialist lawyer who advises vulnerable and elderly clients highlighted the populations’ lack of preparation for capacity loss and how this could impact them in later life.

“The research shows that despite many people being concerned about ageing 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.“

Enabling lawyers to develop a greater understanding of dementia and what it means to be affected by the condition, Irwin Mitchell has trained 470 lawyers to become ‘Dementia Friends’ as part of Dementia Awareness Week.


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