Getting advice on legal and financial issues is essential for anyone diagnosed with dementia and their carer. It is important to get advice before the person you care for has lost the capacity to make informed decisions about the future, or the need for residential care. See legal and financial on the Alzheimer's Society`s website.
Lasting Power of Attorney
Having a lasting power of attorney in place will ensure that if the person with dementia loses capacity, someone they have chosen and trust can look after their affairs on their behalf. To set one up you can either use a solicitor or other trained adviser, or make the application yourself.
If a lasting power of attorney is not in place, and the person you care for has lost capacity, it is still possible to get permission to act on their behalf. An application can be made to become a deputy through the Court of Protection. However, this can be time consuming and costly.
Find out more about Lasting Power of Attorney.
Advance statements and advance decisions (living wills)
As well as a Lasting Power of Attorney the person with dementia can make advance statements and advance decisions. These are often known as living wills.
- An advance decision to refuse treatment (advance decision) is legally binding as long as it fulfills certain requirements. It allows someone to refuse treatment in advance of a time when they don’t have the capacity to make a decision for themselves.
- An advance statement is not legally binding. It is a general statement of someone’s wishes, and what is important to them. It is usually written down and can contain any information they feel is important for others to know, such as religious, cultural, food and care preferences.
Ensuring that you and the person you care for have these legal documents in place at the earliest possible time will provide peace of mind and sometimes financial security. It ensures the wishes of the person with dementia are respected. You might find it can relieve a lot of stress and anxiety if you are having to make important decisions on behalf of the person you care for.
See advance statements and advance decisions on Alzheimer's Society.
Making a will
It is Important to make a will regardless of whether we have any possessions or money, a will does not necessarily need to be drawn up by a solicitor. However unless the will is straightforward you should seek advice, for example from Citizens Advice.
Financial and other support
It is important to find out about any financial support you may be entitled to as a carer as caring for someone with dementia can be expensive. You can have a benefits check by a trained adviser to ensure you find out about help you may be entitled to. See if you can claim
- Carer’s Allowance - if you earn less than £110 per week, spend at least 35 hours caring each week, and the person you care for receives the higher- or middle-rate care component of Disability Living Allowance, either rate of Personal Independence Payment daily living component, or any rate of Attendance Allowance.
- Attendance Allowance - is a benefit for someone whose ability to keep safe or look after their own personal care is affected by physical or mental illness or disability.
- Personal independent Payments (PIP) - is a benefit for people aged between 16 and 64 who because of a long-term illness or disability may need help with daily activities or getting around.
There are a number of other financial entitlements which your local council, or carers, dementia or disability advice service will be able to help you with.
If you are struggling with juggling work and caring:
- Contact your human resources department or manager to let them know the situation.
- Get in touch with your local council, or local carers organisation about a carer’s assessment for you and a community care assessment for the person you care for.
This will give you the opportunity to explore available support, which could help you stay in work.
Next in the Carers Road Map guide: When the person with dementia needs more support
Next review due: June 2017