With dementia slowly impacting the mental capacity of an individual, it’s of vital importance that loved ones will be able to take over selected responsibilities that are key to their wellbeing. This relates, of course, not just to physical health, but also the need to make key decisions pertaining to all manner of individual needs. As such, it is important to discuss the possibility of power of attorney with them at the earliest point possible.
Put simply, a power of attorney is a legal document that grants authority to an individual to act on behalf of another person. This document allows the person to make decisions about care and treatment, and to handle financial affairs. It can also help to ensure that the person with dementia receives the best possible care. By understanding the power of attorney process, you can help to ensure that your loved one remains as well-informed and as capable as possible in the face of dementia.
What is a power of attorney?
For those living with dementia, making the decision to appoint someone as your power of attorney can be a difficult one. It’s important to choose someone you trust who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes. This could include things like financial, health, and legal affairs. If something happens and you’re unable to make decisions for yourself due to dementia or other medical conditions, the person appointed under your power of attorney can help take care of these matters on your behalf. Make sure to have the power of attorney document completed and ready to go, so you don’t have any surprises later on.
It typically takes about two weeks for someone to be appointed as a power of attorney for dementia patients. The appointment must be done in writing and should state the person who is appointing you, your main duties, and when you are authorised to act on behalf of the patient.
When should you grant a power of attorney?
When it comes to dementia, it’s important to have a power of attorney in place at the earliest possible time. It’s especially important to get the agreement in writing and update it as needed, as the situation may change over time as the dementia progresses. The person you choose should have strong legal and financial skills, as they’ll be handling sensitive information.
There are different types of power of attorney available – health care power of attorney, financial power of attorney, lifetime power of attorney, etc. Each type has its own set of requirements and benefits which will be specified in the document itself. It is important to get advice from an expert if you’re not sure what kind would best suit your needs.
What if someone has dementia and no power of attorney in the UK?
In such instances, there are a few possibilities. If there is no spouse or civil partner, a guardian can be appointed to make decisions on behalf of the person with dementia; alternatively, their spouse can make decisions on their behalf. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 sets out specific criteria that a guardian must meet before they can be appointed. Once these requirements have been met, it becomes easier for family and friends to step up and take care of the person with dementia properly.
Find out more
We at Avante Care & Support aim to provide a full range of care services for those living with dementia, including care homes, respite support and more. We can also offer guidance and advice on all things relating to dementia, so feel free to get in touch today to discuss the specifics of power of attorney for your loved one.