Winter can be a very difficult time for the elderly
Older people are more vulnerable in the cold. It is a sad fact that every year approximately 20,000 more people aged 65 years or over die during the winter months.
Ways you can assist elderly friends or relatives:
- ·Keep an eye out for illness or unusual behaviour;
- ·Keep them warm. Older people take longer to get warm than younger people and lose heat more quickly;
- ·Offer a helping hand;
- ·Speak to/spend time with them. Winter months can lead to isolation and loneliness;
- ·Suggest they review their Wills and Powers of Attorney.
Typically, as solicitors, we see a surge of new enquiries during the winter months in respect of our elderly client services. Unfortunately many of these enquiries are made by family members seeking advice because a family member is suffering from a form of illness or mental capacity which quite often means it is too late for us to be able to assist without making an application to the Court.
To make matters easier for family members and for the elderly person themselves we would suggest that their Wills are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and accord with the wishes of the person making the Will.
Lasting Powers of Attorney - why they can help
Without a lasting power of attorney in place, no one - except a spouse - is authorised to make decisions on behalf of someone who had lost mental capacity, whether it happened through trauma of the brain or a disease such as Dementia or Alzheimer’s;
This means that family members cannot make decisions about medication, care, life-sustaining treatment or any health and welfare matters. It also means no one (including spouses) can make decisions on financial matters such as paying bills/care home fees or selling property to pay for care; in this case an application would need to be made to the Court of Protection this process can be very lengthy and costly causing a lot of distress to the family in what will already be difficult circumstances.
How we can help with Care of the Elderly
Cunningtons can assist offering a free review of Wills to ensure they are up-to-date and discuss the importance of having a Lasting Power of Attorney with your family members.