Beloved actress Barbara Windsor’s husband Scott Mitchell revealed that she has Alzheimer’s Disease. In a touching interview, Mr Mitchell described how Barbara had started to find it difficult to learn her lines in 2009 and, following a series of tests, she was diagnosed in 2014.
Mr Mitchell said that he hoped that by disclosing his wife’s condition to the public, it would help other families dealing with what he described as “a cruel disease”. Mr. Mitchell has been widely praised for speaking out in this way, with the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK congratulating him for bringing the disease “out into the open”.
Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia and there are currently around 850,000 dementia sufferers in the UK. Symptoms include memory loss, confusion and problems with speech. With an ageing population, this number is likely to increase, although none of the current treatments can stop the disease.
With this in mind, it is more important than ever for people to plan for incapacity in later life by making a Lasting Power of Attorney. This document enables them to choose a trusted relative or friend to manage their affairs and make decisions on their behalf if they develop a condition like dementia.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney:
This can be used whilst you still have mental capacity. An Attorney (the person who makes decisions for you) can make decisions on things such as paying bills, operating your bank account and, if required, selling your property.
This can only be used after you have lost mental capacity, and deals with decisions regarding your care, such as where you will live and your social arrangements. This could also extend, if you wish, to giving or refusing consent to the continuation of life sustaining treatment.
No one likes to think about a time when you might be unable to manage your own affairs, but taking steps now by putting into place, Lasting Powers of Attorney, you can take control; you can ensure that, should the worst happen, you and your family are prepared and able to maintain and enjoy your quality of life, free of worry for as long as possible.
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