– Planning ahead – Lasting Power of Attorney.

Throughout her illness Mum refused to accept that she had dementia or to discuss it in any way. This meant we were not really able to plan ahead or discuss any advanced decisions that she may have had about her care. What we did however manage to do, was get a Lasting Power of Attorney in place.

Lasting Power of Attorney’s

There will come a point for people with dementia where they are no longer able to manage their own affairs. It is therefore best to put a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) (known in Scotland as a Continuing Power of Attorney) in place. This allows the appointed person to make decisions on behalf of the person with dementia.

What we didn’t realise and what the solicitor failed to point out is that there are two types of Lasting (Continuing) Power of Attorney’s.

  1. LPA for property and financial affairs.
  2. LPA for health & welfare – this allows the attorney to make a ‘do not resuscitate’ decision.

Note: The LPA for property and financial affairs can be used both before and after the loss of mental capacity depending on the wishes of the donor but the LPA for health & welfare can only be used after the donor has lost mental capacity.

So while we had a LPA for property and financial affairs in place we didn’t have a LPA for health and welfare in place. When Mum first arrived at Rivermead, the care home where she spent her final 3 years, we were asked whether we wanted a ‘do not resuscitate’ order in place. This process was made much more difficult because we didn’t have the LPA for health and welfare in place.

So wherever possible, make sure that you have advanced discussions about care homes and ‘do not resuscitate’ orders and also make sure that you have both types of LPA’s in place as well.

For more information visit the Alzheimer’s Society.

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