Dementia Awareness Week – 15-21 May 2016

Dementia Awareness Week is taking place from 15 to 21 May.  The word ‘dementia’ describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss, mood changes and difficulties with communication and reasoning.  Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases such as Alzheimer's disease or a series of strokes.  There are many types of dementia with differing symptoms.

There are 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK and by 2025 this number will exceed 1 million. There are also 670,000 people caring for relatives or friends who have dementia.  There are many more people who know or are related to an individual who is living with dementia.

Unfortunately, dementia can affect younger people too and there are 45,000 younger people (under 65) living with dementia in the UK.  Many of these will be in employment at the time of their diagnosis.  These individuals, as well as employed individuals who are caring for relatives or friends living with dementia, may need support in their working role and for adjustments to be made to enable them perform to their maximum potential.   Our employment lawyers are on hand to provide advice to employers and employees as to how support should be provided to those affected by dementia.

Please contact James Baker, Partner in the Employment team for queries relating to supporting and making adjustments for individuals living with dementia or caring for individuals living with dementia.

We strongly encourage any individual facing a diagnosis of dementia to take steps to prepare for the future, sooner rather than later, as dementia is a progressive condition.  For example, we recommend that such individuals make or review their Wills and make both a Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney and a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney.  We would also encourage individuals to review their property and financial affairs generally.  If they had anticipated making gifts or creating trusts during their lifetime for estate planning purposes, this should not be delayed.  If an individual lacks mental capacity to make a gift/trust an application will have to be made to the Court of Protection for approval of any proposed arrangement. This is a time-consuming and costly process.   Our private client lawyers would be delighted to advise any individual who has dementia-related issues. Please contact Sarah Hargreaves in the first instance.

Michelmores LLP is a proud member of the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance (EDAA) which was established in 2014.  All members of EDAA are committed to the aims of the National Dementia Action Alliance with the overriding aim of making Exeter a Dementia-Friendly city.  45 local employers have now signed up as members of EDAA (see here for further information and a list of members). If you are part of an organisation and would be interested in joining the alliance, please contact Sarah Hargreaves in the Private Client team at Michelmores or Gina Awad, EDAA Project Lead (

Sarah Hargreaves, Senior Associate and Head of Mental Capacity, Regional Co-Ordinator of the Devon and Cornwall group of Solicitors for the Elderly,, 01392 687439.