Worried About Memory Loss and Dementia? How You Can Legally Protect Your Loved Ones

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Worried About Memory Loss and Dementia? How You Can Legally Protect Your Loved Ones

Becoming forgetful doesn’t always mean that someone has dementia, there could be numerous reasons why, but it can spark concerns for family members.  

If you are worried about someone close to you and think that they are showing some early warning signs of dementia, then it is important to talk to them and persuade them to see their GP. A diagnosis is the best way to give everyone peace of mind, and if they do have a health condition, then a plan can be put in place. 


Dementia Action Week 

Dementia Action Week is an annual awareness raising campaign, which is held each year by Alzheimers UK. This year Dementia Action Week runs from 13-19 May. The awareness week is a prudent reminder on the help and support that is available and a chance to come together to share stories, resources and talk about those loved ones that are living with dementia or have sadly passed away after living with dementia. 


Concerns About Memory Problems 

Many people will struggle with lapses in memory at some point in their life. This can be down to stress, lack of sleep, the menopause, deficiencies, medication, alcohol, hearing loss, physical illness, normal signs of old age, or just from having too much to juggle.  

Forgetting things can be frustrating, but when an older relative or neighbour is suffering from continued memory loss, there is cause for concern for their safety and wellbeing. 

Memory loss is a common early sign of dementia because the disease damages certain areas of the brain that are responsible for memories. Some forgetfulness might seem harmless, however, there are some serious risks such as people leaving a stove on, forgetting to lock doors or even forgetting to eat and take care of themselves properly.  


Talking to Somone About Memory Problems 

If you have concerns about someone you care about, it can be difficult to bring it up with them, as you don’t want to upset or scare them. 

  • Think about how they might react 
  • Think about whether you are the best person to speak to them 
  • Choose a good time to speak to them, when they are in a positive mood and there is plenty of time to not have a rushed conversation 
  • Talk somewhere quiet and where you won’t be interrupted 
  • Choose your words carefully – best not to mention the word dementia 
  • Listen carefully to what they have to say 
  • Be positive and offer your support 
  • Suggest that they see their GP and offer to go with them 


Putting Legal Protection in Place 

If your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, there will be a number of different considerations to put the best support and protection in place for the year ahead. 

Aside from the practical day-to-day care, treatment and living arrangements, it is important to also give consideration to how you can make sure your loved one is protected legally and financially too. 

Whilst they still have the mental capacity to make important decisions – it is a good idea to ensure that their legal affairs are in good order. This will save a lot of confusion, stress and concern later down the line if you are required to step in. 

Some key things to consider are Wills, LPAs and their Property. 

Do they have a Will? And if so, is it valid, up-to-date and stored securely? 

If they have not yet made a Will or have not got around to updating it in sometime, then it is sensible to action this promptly whilst they are still able to. A Will is a legal document that makes provisions for loved ones, can express specific wishes and minimise inheritance tax. If capacity has already been lost, they will not be able to make a new Will or makes changes to an existing one. You are able to apply to the Court of Protection to make a Statutory Will or Intestacy Rules will apply when they pass away. 

Do they have Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs)? If they have capacity, it could be very beneficial to get these in place. There are two types of LPA. One that covers health and welfare issues (such as care, medical treatment, living arrangements, diet etc) and one that covers property and finances (allowing someone to manage their bank accounts, pay bills, claim benefits and sell their property etc.). They are a sensible consideration for everyone but are particularly recommended for people living with Dementia because there is a certainty that capacity will be lost at some point in the near future.  They allow for important matters to be dealt with on their behalf, with little stress or barriers. 


Speak to Bell Lamb & Joynson 

Our Wills and Probate team at Bell Lamb & Joynson are compassionate, patient and experienced in working with elderly clients and people living with Alzheimer’s, brain injury or with other forms of dementia. 

Our Team are STEP qualified and members of Lifetime Laywers, which means they have had further training on the soft skills and different approaches for working with vulnerable clients. They are trained to identify certain challenges and advise on matters in a clear, straightforward way so that clients are supported, but empowered to make their own decisions with confidence. 

For further information on Wills, LPAs or alter life planning, please speak to our friendly team. 

Call us on 03444 124 348 or email Alternatively you can speak to our online chat assistant (who is a real person, not a robot). 

Our offices have quiet meeting rooms to discuss your legal requirements and we are happy to offer your relatives a home visit if they struggle to travel or feel more comfortable in their own home. 

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