Dementia is a growing challenge. As the population ages and people live for longer, it has become one of the most important health and care issues facing the world. In England it is estimated that around 676,000 people have dementia. In the whole of the UK, the number of people with dementia is estimated at 850,000.
Dementia mainly affects older people, and after the age of 65, the likelihood of developing dementia roughly doubles every five years. However, for some dementia can develop earlier, presenting different issues for the person affected, their carer and their family.
There are around 540,000 carers of people with dementia in England. It is estimated that one in three people will care for a person with dementia in their lifetime. Half of them are employed and it’s thought that some 66,000 people have already cut their working hours to care for a family member, whilst 50,000 people have left work altogether.
There is a considerable economic cost associated with the disease estimated at £23 billion a year, which is predicted to triple by 2040. This is more than the cost of cancer, heart disease and stroke.
Hundreds of thousands of people will come to rely on relatives or carers to help manage their finances in the next 12 months because of illness or an accident. But most families are unprepared for such an outcome.
One vital document gives family members authority to handle the financial affairs of a loved one in need – meaning they can stay on top of household bills. It is known as a lasting power of attorney. But 44 million people do not have one – 85 per cent of the UK adult population. And two-fifths of adults do not know what one is.
It can be set up in less than an hour and registered properly with the relevant government department in eight to ten weeks. LPAs can help everyone plan for the future, whatever it holds.