Gregg Latchams Supports Solicitors for the Elderly
New report warns of looming incapacity crisis
- 96% of people in the Southwest leave important health and welfare decisions to chance
- 73% would like a family member to make medical and care decisions on their behalf, in the event of mental incapacity
- 76% of people in the Southwest are worried about dementia and losing the ability to make decisions for themselves
- 83% haven’t discussed end of life medical and care wishes
- 39% admit to having made no provisions at all, such as a will, LPA, pension or funeral plan
The study found 96% of people in the Southwest have not made necessary provisions, should they lose capacity from conditions like dementia. A further 39% admit to having made no provisions at all for later life, including a will, pension, funeral plan or LPA.
The research found that 76% of people in the Southwest (region) are worried about dementia and losing the ability to make decisions for themselves, but 83% have not spoken about, or even considered, personal medical and care end of life decisions.
A staggering 65% of people incorrectly believe that their next of kin can specify what they would have wanted if they are no longer able to and 73% of the public would like a family member to make medical and care decisions on their behalf.
61% of people incorrectly believe that their spouse has the power to do so.
70% of those in the South West are worried about becoming mentally incapacitated and losing the ability to make decisions for themselves
58% believe that being on the NHS organ donor register ensures that organs are donated following death, however this is not the case.
Only 4% of Britons surveyed in the South West by SFE have a health and welfare LPA in place.
Without the necessary provisions in place, potential life-changing medical and care decisions are taken away from loved ones.
There are currently 928,000 Health and Welfare LPAs registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) across England and Wales, compared to the 12.8 million people over the age of 65 who run the risk of developing dementia – a difference of nearly 93%.
The forecast shows the disparity will continue, leaving millions in limbo. By 2025, it’s calculated that 15.2 million people will be at risk of mental incapacity and it’s estimated that 2.2 million health and welfare LPAs will be in place. This shows that the health and welfare wishes of 13 million people will not be taken into account.
SFE is urging the nation to act now to avoid this incapacity crisis by planning ahead in case of mental incapacity.
It is crucial to have a conversation with loved ones in order to make specific medical and care wishes known – such as, where you are cared for, whether you wish to be an organ donor and whether or not you would want to be resuscitated – otherwise there is a risk your preferences are not taken into account.
The campaign calls on people to act now and start a conversation with loved ones about end of life topics to remove the stigma surrounding the discussion.
Lakshmi Turner, Chief Executive of SFE, said:
“Most of us do not like thinking about, let alone talking about, death, disability or disease, despite the fact that it touches all our lives – but it is essential that we do so.
“Whilst it’s great that more and more of us are putting wills in place and establishing plans for finances and assets, far too few of us are planning ahead for our health and care needs and wishes, leaving this to chance.
“It’s time to set the record straight. Planning ahead by talking to family or friends shouldn’t be seen as doom and gloom, it’s about having a positive conversation about welfare, empowering your loved ones and making the decision-making process easier for everyone.”
Heledd Wyn, Associate Director at Gregg Latchams said:
“Planning for a future that may involve physical or mental incapacity is not something that people often want to tackle. Planning is however much preferable to crisis management and having potentially difficult conversation early can make an uncertain future much brighter as you ensure that your wishes and feelings are catered for.”
To download the report, a short video and infographics, visit https://sfe.legal/the-incapacity-crisis-a-nation-unprepared/
Notes to editors
- The report titled The incapacity crisis: a nation unprepared was produced by SFE in June 2018. Further research was conducted by Centre for Future Studies. The full report is available for download here: https://sfe.legal/the-incapacity-crisis-a-nation-unprepared/
- The consumer polling was commissioned by SFE in March 2018, which polled 1,977 adults across the UK. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK regions (aged 18+)
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
An LPA is a powerful legal document, which allows a person (or ‘donor’) to choose one or more individuals (known as attorneys) to handle their affairs in the event that they are no longer able to do so themselves, for example if they lose mental capacity. Attorneys are usually trusted family members or friends, but people can also select a legal professional as their attorney.
An LPA must be put in place while a person has the mental capacity to do so. It’s important to plan ahead and get your wishes down on paper as early as possible to ensure that whoever you choose to manage your affairs can retain control, should you lose capacity.
There are two types of LPA: a health and welfare LPA (H&W LPA), and a property and financial affairs LPA (P&F LPA). The former covers things like choices around care plans, medical treatment and end of life wishes. The latter deals with the management of property, other assets, bank accounts and bill payments.
Supporting quotes from selected partner organisations – please see report for additional material.
Gary Rycroft, Chair of the Dying Matters Forum
“We have long been advocates of the health and welfare lasting powers of attorney. End of life treatments can be uncomfortable and upsetting – for both the person in question and their loved ones.
However, death and dying needn’t be a taboo topic. There is dignity to be found in dying, and one of the best ways of ensuring this is by specifying your wishes around how you would like to be cared for.
“Without a health and welfare lasting power of attorney, you risk having very personal choices being made on your behalf by people who do not know you – such a medical or legal professional. We support SFE’s campaign raising awareness of the importance of these documents.”