Worries about memory loss lead to calls for future planning

Almost half of people in Yorkshire are scared of losing their memory, with others worried about losing their eyesight and mobility in old age, a new survey suggests.
Picture: PAPicture: PA
Picture: PA

A Leeds lawyer says concerns are real, and has warned about the risks of leaving financial and care decisions in the hands of inheritors without instructions.

Sian Thompson, head of Wills and Trusts at Simpson Millar, which carried out the survey, said a “worrying number” of people still don’t leave instructions about future care and finances - and do not have funds in place to secure care.

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“In just five years, a million people in Britain will suffer from Dementia but only around 15 per cent of people over the age of 75 have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place. Sadly, the problem is often that people don’t feel they can trust those around them,” she said.

“With no formal directions in place, people might by default put their health and financial security in the hands of someone who doesn’t know their preferences or, worse, someone who doesn’t have their best interests at heart.”

The survey showed 44 per cent of those questioned in Yorkshire and the Humber feared losing their memory, compared to 33 per cent nationally. The second biggest fear was losing their eyesight, which worried a third.

Ms Thompson highlighted the case of an elderly woman in Leeds, who had to go into care after she fell onto a gas fire at home and burnt her legs. She had no relatives, and used savings to appoint an advocate.

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Ms Thompson said: “Her savings have enabled us to put in place a safety net to ensure her wellbeing through friendship and oversight of her care. Unfortunately, people who have little or no funds left at this age are often left entirely in the hands of the system and that is a problem.”