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I am solicitor in the Private Client team in Newbury, specialising in advising individuals and their families who want to plan for the future: whether in relation to their property and financial affairs or their future care. This includes advising in relation to wills, powers of attorney, advance decisions/‘living wills’, acting as attorney/ deputy and the Court of Protection.
I have particular experience and expertise in advising and assisting clients who act as attorneys or deputies and who wish to ask the Court of Protection to make a particular decision about a person’s property, finances or care.
In my volunteer role as a Dementia Friends Champion, I deliver regular information sessions to help to raise public awareness of the challenges of living with dementia - for both the individual affected and their family and friends.
I am also head of the Newbury Dementia Friends Community Forum, which seeks to improve the lives of people living with dementia in Newbury. The forum’s aim is to encourage the local community to make the little changes required to make Newbury a dementia-friendly town in which to live and work.
I always enjoyed amateur dramatics as a child: while completing an English Literature degree at Southampton University I decided that a career in law gave me the opportunity for performing, reading, writing and meeting people.
I particularly enjoy working with clients and their families in relation to powers of attorney and Court of Protection applications. The initial anxiety which clients often feel when they make the first step of contacting a solicitor to talk about issues of mental incapacity is often lessened once I explain to them the legal process and the options open to them. The ultimate goal with each client is to provide the documentation or Court approval which then allows the individuals involved to get on with their lives knowing that their affairs are all in place.
I am an avid supporter of Reading Football Club, having had a season ticket for many years - I caught the bug when my dad took me to my first game against Leyton Orient in 1993. I also have a young son who keeps me busy!
“It was great to further extend the reach of our Dementia Friend training to Irwin Mitchell’s contact centre, which as the front-line of enquiries coming through has one of the most client-facing roles in the entire firm.
“Many of our clients can be elderly and vulnerable and it is important that as a firm we know how to ensure they are properly protected and looked after as either they or their family and friends seek legal advice.
“Being a caring firm that is understanding of all situations is at the core of what we do, and this training session further reinforces our commitment to both becoming a Dementia Champion as well as to our firm’s ethos.”
These were informal sessions run by volunteers which explained simply the ways in which dementia can change people's lives.
The key focus of the sessions, however, is that there is always more to the person than the dementia and that, with an early diagnosis and appropriate support from family, friends and professionals, it is possible for people to live well with dementia for many years.
Sadly, due to the nature of our work, we help people with dementia who have experienced neglect while in care or with families who are concerned about the condition and are preparing for the future in terms of Wills, and Lasting Powers of Attorney.
Our experience shows us the impact that dementia has on those who live with the condition and their loved ones. We want to help improve life for these people by helping to create as many new Dementia Friends as possible.
Not only so our employees have a better understanding of the clients they are working with, but so they can spread the word to their own families and friends and help the wider communities we operate in become more inclusive by giving them a greater understanding of dementia and ways to help people living with the condition.
“Without giving too much away the experience impaired our vision, touch and hearing, making it very difficult to understand and interact with our environment.
Being on the bus played with our ability to understand simple instructions and the information being provided to us. It was a very unnerving situation and a small glimpse into the impact dementia can have on daily life.
I was very cautious moving about the bus. I began to realise I was hunched over as I shuffled around. Most importantly it highlighted to us the importance of understanding and patience when interacting with people who are living with dementia.
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