G8 Dementia Summit 2013

Health Ministers from the G8 member states met in London this week to develop a strategy to combat the ‘increasing threat to global health’ that Dementia poses.

According to figures released by the Alzheimer’s Society, 44 million people globally suffer with Dementia and this figure is set to rise to 135 million in 2050. The cost globally is $600bn and rising. In the UK the government spending on annual research funding is sixty six million pounds, eight times less than that on cancer research.

Following this week’-s summit the government has pledged that spending will increase to one hundred and thirty two million pounds by 2025. The G8 member nations also have pledged a commitment to develop a cure or treatment for Dementia by 2025. The announcement has been praised by leading charities and it is indeed a positive step in the right direction albeit an ambitious one.

Now that the issue of Dementia is finally being raised both at home and on the international stage we should all consider how Dementia can potentially affect us and those around us. Some relatively simple steps can be taken that would go at least a small way to reducing the devastating impact that Dementia can have on our lives and those of our loved ones.

For those diagnosed with Dementia, serious thought needs to be given to future care planning. Discussions should be had with your Doctor and other health care professionals to establish a care plan. As part of this planning consideration should be given to putting in place a Living Will (sometimes known as Advanced Directives) or a Lasting Power of Attorney Health and Welfare (LPA HW). An LPA HW will allow you to appoint an Attorney who can make decisions about your care and well being if you are unable to make those decisions yourself thereby ensuring that your wishes are met and that you receive the best care possible.

Likewise a Lasting Power of Attorney Property and Financial Affairs (LPA PFA) can ensure that those you trust most will be able to manage your financial affairs ensuring that your financial assets are properly managed to pay for the care you need.

Finally a properly executed Will is always essential (even for those who are in good health). A Will is only valid if the person signing it has the proper level of capacity to do so. Leaving it too late may mean those you wish to benefit from your estate on your death lose out.

by Kieren Cross from the Wisbech office