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Dementia Action Week: Living Well With Dementia – Early Diagnosis and Early Preparation

Recent advancements in blood tests for Alzheimer's diagnosis represent a significant leap forward in the medical field. These tests could transform the process of diagnosing dementia, making it more accessible, less invasive and resulting in earlier diagnosis. The tests are currently being trialled across the UK and aim to validate their effectiveness. It is hoped that they could be undertaken in the mainstream by the NHS within the next five years. 

Currently only 2% of patients benefit from the best testing techniques meaning, for vast majority, their condition can be left undiagnosed for many years. They and their families are left in limbo, uncertain of their prognosis and unable to access the right type of care. Dementia is progressive and it is accepted that early diagnosis is key to better treatment, delaying decline and enabling individuals to live well with their diagnosis.

These advances in medical science are so important and, with hope, will lead one day to a cure for one of the most debilitating and cruel medical conditions.

Lasting Powers Of Attorney

For the moment dementia is around to stay so it is vital that individuals plan ahead by setting up lasting powers of attorney. There can be a lot of uncertainty and fear around making lasting powers of attorney and individuals can feel they are giving up control. However, making both health and financial lasting powers of attorney is an essential step to effectively and efficiently manage your future healthcare and financial decisions. 

Lasting powers of attorney allow individuals to appoint trusted people to make decisions on their behalf if they lose the capacity to do so themselves. Financial lasting powers of attorney can enable your trusted attorneys to manage your finances, pay bills on your behalf, review and update your pension arrangements and much more. Health lasting powers of attorney enable your trusted attorneys to take very personal decisions for you such as deciding where you should live, what you can eat, who you can see, what you can wear and deal with your personal correspondence. 

Clearly this is a lot of authority to give to someone on your behalf and it can feel like loss of control so this fear is well-founded. However, while you still have mental capacity to take decisions yourself no one can override what you want to do. It is, however, vital to fully understand the power you are giving to your attorneys and to make sure you are choosing the right people who have the time, energy and ability to take significant life-impacting decisions for you.

Properly worded lasting powers of attorney are so important and it is important to take advice before making or signing the documents. A well prepared lasting power of attorney is a proactive measure that provides peace of mind and security, complementing the medical advances in dementia diagnosis and care. Together, these medical and legal preparations empower individuals to take control of their future, even in the face of uncertain health conditions.

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in advising on issues relating to dementia.