Volunteers are often the bedrock of charitable organisations, but they are not protected from sexual harassment within those organisations.
The key principles of the Mental Capacity Act create a framework to encourage and support people to maintain their independence for as long as possible. Our Court of Protection team works with clients to help achieve exactly this. Whilst there is a range of different circumstances in which an individual is unable, or may become unable, to manage their own affairs, it is dementia that is affecting a growing number of people. Currently, 850,000 people in the UK live with dementia, and this is expected to rise to 1 million people by 2025.
Many of our clients are either directly or indirectly affected by dementia, and therefore in August this year, 15 of us attended a Dementia Friends information session; an Alzheimer’s Society initiative that aims to change the perception of and improve society’s understanding of dementia. It is important to us that we know how to best support any client with this diagnosis.
What is dementia?
We understand that a diagnosis of dementia does not mean the same thing for everybody and although there may be two people living with the same diagnosis, they may have very different experiences. We aim to treat each client as the unique individual they are, recognising their specific needs and circumstances.
Dementia is a term used to describe the symptoms that arise as a result of damage caused by diseases of the brain. Whilst most people associate dementia with old age and memory loss, this is not always the case - the symptoms will depend on the specific disease of the brain. One person living with dementia may experience difficulties with memory or perception, another person may have difficulty with communication or orientation; it all depends on which disease is causing the damage and which part of the brain is affected. Most people are familiar with the most common type of dementia; Alzheimer’s disease. However, there are many more – vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies, to name just a few.
In addition to cognitive symptoms, people living with dementia often demonstrate changes in personality, becoming frustrated or anxious. This is exaggerated by a feeling of isolation and exclusion from society. Initiatives such as Dementia Friends and the increasing number of support groups will hopefully ensure as many people with dementia as possible feel supported and understood, rather than lonely and isolated.
How does dementia affect our clients?
A diagnosis of dementia does not automatically mean a person has lost the mental capacity to make their own decisions. The diseases that result in dementia are often present long before symptoms are spotted, or there is a diagnosis. Each person is individual and unique; responding differently to dementia. It is important to remember that, with the help and support of family, friends and professionals, many people continue to live healthy and independent lives.
How can we help?
We work to support our clients to maintain their independence. Guided by the key principles of the MCA, we find ways to manage our clients’ finances in the least restrictive way, enabling them to retain control for as long as possible. We also advise on other aspects of planning, such as welfare LPAs and Advance Decisions.
Whilst it is possible to continue to live a full and healthy life, dementia is progressive. Therefore, it is likely that, at some point, the individual will become unable to manage their own affairs and will increasingly require support. Taking advice and planning early for these situations, by making a Lasting Power of Attorney, both for property and finance, and also for welfare decisions, offers peace of mind. It also ensures that decisions will continue to be made for the person, in their best interests.
If you would like more information about planning or advice on making a Lasting Power of Attorney, please contact Clare Burke.
Here at Anthony Collins Solicitors, we have been hard at work advising a charity client, BICMP, on its new music project, ‘Resonance’.
Currently, the only ground for divorce is irretrievable break down of a marriage. Following a consultation, the Government has announced its intention to reform the legal requirements for divorce.
The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has recently made some noteworthy changes to its guidance around data subject access requests (DSARs).
In the fourth part of our series on contract management pitfalls, we look at the risks arising out of varying the terms of construction contracts.
A local authority recently received a "roasting" by the Pensions Ombudsman for their delay in processing an employee’s ill-health retirement pension, following her diagnosis with advanced cancer.
The Times is looking for three or four charities to feature in their editions running in December 2019 and early January 2020.
Cliff Mills defines and talks about the importance of social value in his blog, and its potential within Greater Manchester.
Following a power outage at Anthony Collins Solicitors’ (ACS) Birmingham office, our employees and partners currently have limited functionality, including no access to emails.
Joint ventures present an opportunity for housing associations to build organisational capacity, the revenues from which could help deliver on wider social housing commitments.
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