Around one third of people in the UK have made no provision for old age, whether through a pension, writing a will, saving for retirement, making funeral plans or creating a lasting power of attorney, according to new research.
By 2025, more than 13 million people who are at risk of mental incapacity will be unprepared, with no legal or medical plans in place for their future care.
The taboo remains –talking about death and end of life is putting individuals and their families at great risk of a whole range of problems in the future.
It is true that more and more of us are putting wills in place and establishing plans for finances and assets, however far too few of us are planning ahead for our health and care needs and wishes, leaving this to chance.
Planning ahead by talking to family or friends shouldn’t be seen as doom and gloom, it’s about having a positive conversation about welfare, empowering your loved ones and making the decision-making process easier for everyone.
Dementia is the biggest single cause of death in England and Wales and the number given a diagnosis of the condition has risen by 54 per cent in ten years. While three quarters of the population fear dementia or the loss of capacity to make decisions, 97 per cent have not made relevant legal provision.
Planning ahead is surrounded by worrying misconceptions. Some 65 per cent of people incorrectly believe they can leave decisions to their next of kin, without making the decisive legal steps to ensure that happens.
There are currently 928,000 health and welfare lasting powers of attorney (LPAs) registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) across England and Wales, compared to the 12 million people over the age of 65 who run the risk of developing dementia – a difference of nearly 93 per cent.
This disparity will continue, leaving millions in limbo. By 2025, it’s estimated that more than 15 million people will be at risk of mental incapacity and only an estimated two million health and welfare LPAs will be in place.
Jeremy Hughes, the chief executive of Alzheimer’s Society, recently commented on this issue: “Lasting powers of attorney for health and welfare too often get overlooked. People with dementia have the right to make choices about their care, just like anyone else. Making someone they trust their attorney for health and welfare is one of the ways people can do this ”
“A health and welfare LPA provides reassurance to them and the act of creating one can start useful conversations about the future with family and friends.”