Dementia: What do I do now?

Dementia: What do I do now?

Receiving a diagnosis of dementia is likely to send your world into freefall. Questions will circle about the future:

  • What I will do?

  • What will happen?

  • How long before memory starts to fade?

  • Will I be able to stay in my home?

  • How will it affect the family?

Although you cannot predict what direction events will take certain issues can be addressed to alleviate unnecessary worry. As long as you still have capacity to give instructions, even after a diagnosis, there are things you can do to make life easier for you and your family.

Do you have a Will?

No? Make one. Yes? Review it.

A Will ensures those you wish to inherit do rather than leaving it to chance. Wills can be drafted to ensure, should you survive your spouse/partner, you will be looked after in the most effective and protective manner possible.

Making or reviewing your Will gives you a chance to review your circumstances.

Do you have a Property & Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney?

No? Make one. Yes? Review it.

Appoint people of your choice to act on your behalf in relation to your property and finances. If you begin to find things difficult they can act for you and can continue to act should you lose capacity. This could allow something as simple as an overdue gas bill to be paid or for assets to be liquidated to provide care.

A word on restrictions: they are best avoided. Restrictions inhibit the ability of your chosen attorneys to act. They cause delay and expense. For example, if you specify that your attorneys are not allowed to sell your house and they need to it will not prevent them – rather they will have to apply to the Court of Protection to obtain an order enabling them to sell the property.

Do you have a Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney?

No? Make one. Yes? Review it.

Who do you want to make decisions about your future health and welfare? People you know and trust? Or someone who does not know or understand your wishes?

Check your finances…

If you need care, whether at home or in a residential or nursing setting, your local authority will carry out a financial means test. You may have to use your savings to meet the cost of care.

Assets held in joint names will be assessed 50/50 by the local authority and not proportionately according to contribution. Consider splitting your savings accounts proportionately. Should you also split the ownership of your house to ensure it is not all lost in care fees?

Are you claiming all the benefits you are entitled to?

Check. Not all state benefits are means tested. Some are based on need and not finances.

Different benefits apply to different age groups. Extra funds could enable additional support to be brought in to help at home. Benefits are payable, in certain circumstances, when an individual resides in a residential or nursing home.

Keep an eye on continuing care….

The most poorly receive continuing care – whether you are living at home or in a residential setting.

If you fall within the most severe categories for health and nursing needs, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have to pay for nursing care. When awarded continuing care covers the majority, if not all, of a person’s care costs.

Payment is dependent upon condition – if your condition improves it can be withdrawn. It can be claimed at any time, even by the executors of their estate following death.

Dealing with the above can free up your time and energy to deal with daily challenges that arise with dementia. Get things in place as soon as possible. Capacity is the key issue – as long as capacity is present instructions can be taken.

As always, the information above provides background information only and should not be relied upon as an exhaustive list of the legal issues involved.

Contact us for advice, support and guidance – it’s what we do:

T: 01227 700 702



Published by Kelly Duke 17 June 2015