Dementia and your legal affairs

We have recently heard that National treasure Barbara Windsor was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014. Barbara started acting when she was just 12 years of age and first found fame in the Carry On films and latterly in the “soap” Eastenders. She is a lovely, bubbly, bright lady who has brought joy and laughter to many households.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. Dementia is not a disease. It is an umbrella term used to describe a set of symptoms that occur when the brain is damaged by certain diseases. There are many types of dementia including Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia and Lewy Body.
The diseases affect a person’s memory, problem solving, concentration and perception. Whatever its form dementia is progressive and will cause a decline in a person’s ability to think, communicate and process new information.
Dementia is one of the top 10 causes of death. Every 3 minutes someone develops dementia. Dementia imposes huge emotional, social and financial costs on the person, their families and their carers.
More people are now diagnosed in the earlier stages of the condition when they can still make informed decisions and have more time to plan for their future. Getting the right legal help can make a huge difference to a family. Getting the right legal help enables you to plan for the future.
Making legal plans in advance is important. It allows the person with dementia to be involved in those plans and to express their wishes about the future. Receiving a dementia diagnosis can be devastating but you can still take control of your life.
Seek legal help to make plans for your finances and property; to make wills and third party mandates; to make lasting powers of attorney for property and finances and for health and care. Seek legal help to make advance decisions about medical treatment.
The Alzheimer’s Society runs a Dementia Friends programme to enable people to learn more about dementia and the small ways you may help. A solicitor who understands a little of what it is like to have dementia and takes a caring, and individualised approach will be better placed to get things right for you.
The Alzheimer’s Society has worked hard to increase awareness of dementia and to reduce the stigma attached to it. The announcement from Barbara Windsor’s family can only help that cause.
If you would like any legal help following a diagnosis of dementia or any other life limiting condition then please do contact us at Dixon Stewart