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We are living as part of an ageing population with people living longer and this is to be celebrated. However, 1 in 14 people over the age of 65 will be living with dementia and this will increase considerably over the next few years. However, dementia is not just a disease that affects older people and there is an increase in the number of people under the age 65 living with dementia.
The symptoms of dementia include memory loss, difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language, and sometimes changes in mood or behaviour. These changes are often small to start with, but for someone with dementia they have become bad enough to affect daily life.
To assist those suffering with dementia businesses and organisations across Gwent have recently been accredited as Dementia Friendly Businesses.
Phil Diamond from Torfaen County Borough Council said “Businesses can become accredited as Dementia Friendly Businesses through the Alzheimer’s Society and it does not require a huge amount of commitment. There are seven simple criteria to meet and officers in each Local Authority are available to provide support to local businesses.
The first step is to organise a free 45 minute Dementia Friends awareness session for staff. The session can be delivered in the workplace as part of a team meeting or at time suitable to businesses. Once the business has met the simple criteria it will be presented with a Dementia Friendly logo to display in places of work and on email footers etc.
People living with dementia and their carers still want to carry on doing the ‘small things that make life big’ and are more likely to shop, use services and contact businesses that are dementia friendly. A number businesses such as banks, super markets, pubs, museums, local authorities, post offices, libraries and small independent operators such as health practitioners and cleaning firms have been accredited. We urge businesses to increase their awareness of dementia and increase their profile in communities.
The odds are that everybody will know somebody living with dementia – it could be immediate or extended family, or even friends – and many of us may take on a caring role to support loved ones. Dementia Friendly Communities and Dementia Friends is a social movement to help people living with dementia and their carers to live as fulfilled a life as possible by providing support from the community – good old fashioned community spirit!”
Jason Pearce, a Partner and Solicitor at Everett Tomlin Lloyd & Pratt specialising in the field of wills, trusts, estates and inheritance tax planning said “At Everett Tomlin Lloyd & Pratt we are committed to assisting those who are suffering with dementia and we are proud to say that we are a Dementia Friendly Business. We understand that those living with dementia want their lives to continue as normally as possible and want to be able to carry out the tasks of everyday life. We know that a person living with dementia is more than their diagnosis and is an individual to be treated with the respect and dignity that we provide to all of our clients.
As a Dementia Friendly Business we will always be patient and understanding with an individual living with dementia. We understand that dementia can often make it difficult to process information or leave a person feeling disorientated. We will always ensure that we allow our clients to take their time, will consider their feelings, assist in any way we can and maintain a friendly service to put our clients at ease.
As lawyers, we can often be accused of using ‘legal jargon’ but if we suspect or know that a person has dementia we will strive to communicate clearly to make sure that people who come to us fully understand the advice and service we are providing.
Specific services we offer for those who are suffering with early stage dementia are the making of wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney. We suggest that having a will properly drawn up by a qualified lawyer leaves less opportunity for people to question your ability to make a will. This is something we assess carefully when we meet a new client. It gives the person making the will a secure knowledge that their possessions will go to the people they would like them to go to.
Lasting Powers of Attorney allow a person to give someone they trust the power to make decisions for them if a time comes when they are no longer able to do so. Lasting Powers of Attorney can be made for matters relating to property and financial affairs and for a person’s health and welfare.
Where someone’s dementia has advanced to the stage where they lack capacity to make a Will or execute a Lasting Power of Attorney, we can assist in the application to the Court of Protection for a Deputy to be appointed to manage their affairs, and for a Statutory Will to be made for them. However, it is a lot more satisfactory, and also a lot cheaper and quicker, to make a Will and do Lasting Powers of Attorney yourself wherever possible.”