A Legal Perspective: Dementia and an Ageing Population

Birmingham law firm

Joyce Bennell, Private Client solicitor at Birmingham law firm Rubric Lois King, analyses the increase in people living with dementia and promotes preparing for all possibilities by drawing up a power of attorney.

As our population ages dementia cases are on the increase. According to Alzheimer’s UK someone is diagnosed with dementia every three seconds. Already in Britain one in eight death certificates mention dementia as a main or secondary cause of death. In some ways, the rise of dementia is the price we are paying for advances in the early diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

The Complex Picture: Types of Dementia

Although many people equate dementia with Alzheimer’s disease it takes many forms.  These include frontotemporal dementia, vascular dementia and Parkinson’s disease dementia.  Just recently a new form of dementia has been identified. Known as limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy (or ‘LATE’ for short) it has been hailed as the most important dementia finding in years.

Dementia Research

Research into Alzheimer’s has focused on two brain proteins; amyloid and tau.  However, LATE appears to be linked to an accumulation of a different protein. With so many types of dementia and possible causes research has proved difficult.  There is currently no diagnostic test for identifying those at risk. At the moment, by the time somebody receives a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, serious damage to the brain has already occurred.

Is it possible to improve the odds of avoiding dementia?

Research seems to indicate that things such as remaining physically active, staying involved with other people and trying to stay healthy can help, but it isn’t clear why.  

Dementia Care in the Future

With continuing research into diagnosis and treatment, it is possible we may one day see a situation similar to heart disease.  It is commonplace for a lot of healthy people to take statins to ward off heart problems and preventative medication may one day apply to dementia too!

Sound Legal Advice for Today

In the meantime, it is sensible to take steps not only to try and stay fit and active, but to prepare for a time when that may not be the case.  Drawing up a power of attorney in favour of a trusted relative or friend will at least give you some peace of mind. With a legally arranged power of attorney you know that should you be unfortunate enough to be diagnosed with dementia your affairs can be managed efficiently.

For further information and advice please call Birmingham law firm Rubric Lois King on 0121 450 7800 or send an e-mail to: enquiries@rlksolicitors.com

By Joyce Bennell, Head of Private Client