Think about it, talk about it, write it down.
Last week, we looked at the rising incidence of dementia related illnesses and how we are ‘sleepwalking’ into the future, unprepared for what might happen to us in later life.
Not enough people make Property and Finance Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) but at least they are easy to understand and the risks of doing them or not doing them are pretty obvious.
Even less of us are planning ahead for our health and care needs and wishes, leaving personal choices to strangers or expecting those closest to us to make decisions based on what they think we want, not what we do want. Just Google ‘I didn’t want that’ if you want to get the context for this.
So, think about it and talk about it with your family. It does not need to be all doom and gloom. Take control and have a positive conversation about your future welfare, helping your loved ones to make the right decisions knowing what your thoughts and wishes are. There might be some tears but better now whilst you are in good health and can talk about it than when you can’t.
You can prepare a DIY LPA online and register it yourself. It is cheap and charities such as Age UK and Alzheimer’s Society can help with the process. It is not rocket science. But as with so many of the areas that I deal with, it is not just getting from A to B that counts. It is knowing all the important stops offs and diversions on the way to prompt you to consider things you may not have thought of. You need to consider all possible outcomes and end up with something accurate and relevant to you.
A lot of thought may go into getting your wishes down on paper and not all choices will be straightforward.
The Solicitors For The Elderly report that this article was inspired by puts it like this- ‘As a nation we understand personal health and wellbeing is important, through healthy lifestyles, food choices and exercise, so why are we limiting our end of life options without specifying what we want?’
‘Our research shows that for most of us, it’s simply because we’re unaware of the risks. More than 70% of us believe that our loved ones will step in and make decisions on our behalf should we no longer be able to. Without a H&W LPA in place, we know this is not the case. The current picture is worrying and this needs to change’.