This week I was chatting to a friend who was most concerned about his father. He said, “He went off to park the car over thirty minutes ago and he’s still not back. He’s losing his mind he’ll be lost again.”
I asked if he genuinely thought that his father had the early stages of Dementia. It transpired that he and his mother had had one brief conversation about this and that she was beginning to think there was a problem as well. I pointed out that his father had probably been struggling for some time, that he would be trying to come to terms with things himself and that right now he would probably be in a panic trying to park the car in an unfamiliar car park.
I spoke to him for a while about the situation. I learned, during my Dementia Friends Training, how to try to help a person in this situation. The goal posts have changed somewhat and the family now need to make adjustments. I explained that he couldn’t expect his father to be the same person he was up until now. That it would be better if, instead of challenging him over the car parking issue, he could gently help him. I gave some examples from my own situation and how changing the phrases used and tone of voice had helped someone that I know as well as helping their family.
My friend agreed, he said that his mother was now often frustrated with his father and shouted at him a lot. He would go away and have a chat with her.
Many of you reading this will recognise this situation. You might be the person concerned about your own mental capacity or you may be the spouse or child of that person. There is no need for immediate panic, making adjustments along the way can be an enormous help. I am a member of Gosforth Dementia Friendly Group. We are a collection of businesses, charities, schools and churches who have come together to raise awareness about Dementia and to offer help. We run Dementia Friendly courses, they are free and last for about an hour. They are enormously helpful. If you would like this training then contact me by email.
Sainsbury’s in Gosforth offers Slow Shopping on a Tuesday afternoon, the music is quieter, there are more staff available etc. All Saints Church in Gosforth offers a Dementia Friendly cafe and art classes.
At Emmersons Solicitors our staff are all Dementia Friends, we are here to help. Our office is on a back lane, you can be dropped off at the front door, we are wheelchair accessible and our meeting room and toilets are all at ground floor level.
So why would you need to visit us if you were concerned about Dementia?
There are a number of ways in which we can help you and your family:
- You should make a will or review the will that you already have. We offer a FREE WILL REVIEW service. It may be the case that you, as a couple, need to arrange your finances in such a way that not all of your assets will be used for care home fees, instead benefitting your children. It takes some skill to achieve this. You must leave sufficient monies available to ensure that anyone needing care home fees, or at home care agency fees, is well looked after whilst at the same time protecting as much money as possible.
- You should also be thinking of making a Lasting Power of Attorney. The idea is to appoint a relative or friend who can step into your shoes and run your affairs as if they were you. There are two types of LPA and together they allow you to obtain help from your Attorney(s) with things such as running your bank accounts, obtaining state benefits, liaising with social services, making decisions about where you will live and being involved in decisions about your medical care.
It is important that you choose your Attorney carefully. They cannot be a bankrupt, they should be physically and mentally capable of being able to help. Eg. Are they able to cope with meetings with your bank, social worker or doctor? Are they capable of filling in lengthy forms? We carry out bankruptcy searches in relation to would-be Attorneys. Whilst they may not be a bankrupt, if they do have lots of court orders against their name they may not be a suitable person to manage your affairs.
If there is any question as to a client’s ability to make a Lasting Power of Attorney then we will ask for a certificate from their doctor which will, or will not, confirm that they have the mental capacity to do so. Just because you or your relative may already have Dementia it does not necessarily mean that you can’t give instructions as to specific things.
We have spent years perfecting our systems so that we cover all of the things that may crop up for you at this stage in your life. We give advice on a whole range of matters that we know will become important to you and your family as your journey progresses.
If it is too late to make a Lasting Power of Attorney then we can apply to the Court of Protection to appoint a Deputy to manage the affairs of the relevant person. The Deputy, once appointed, will then manage things in the same way as an Attorney.
When you appoint an Attorney they must act in accordance with your wishes and in your best interests. You may not need them to run your bank accounts immediately. Sometimes they might do your banking for you if you can’t cope that week. The next week you may be able to do this for yourself. The documents are designed to be flexible.
If you need any help or advice with any of the above issues then please do not hesitate to contact me on 0191 2846989 or firstname.lastname@example.org