Winter can be a dangerous time for the elderly, as they are more vulnerable in the cold

It is a sad fact that every year approximately 20,000 more people aged 65 years or over die during the winter months.

Ways we can help the elderly in the winter months

There are simple things we can do to look after those in our lives who need more care:

  • Keep an eye out for illness or unusual behaviour;
  •  Keep them warm.  Older people take longer to get warm than younger people and lose heat more quickly;
  • Offer a helping hand when needed;
  • Chat to them, spend time with them. The cold winter months can be very isolating.
  • Suggest they review their Will and Power of Attorney.

Act early, don’t be too late

Typically, as solicitors, we see a surge of new enquiries during the winter months in respect of our elderly client services. 

Unfortunately, many of these enquiries are made by family members seeking advice because a family member is suffering from a form of illness or mental capacity. This quite often means that it is too late for us to be able to assist without making application to the Court.

Keeping Wills up-to-date

To make matters easier for family members and senior citizens, we suggest that all Wills be kept current. This of course is also true for everyone throughout their life, it is important that your wishes are taken care of when it comes to your Will.

The importance of Powers of Attorney

Without a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place, no one is authorised to make decisions on behalf of someone who had lost mental capacity either through trauma of the brain or a disease such as Dementia or Alzheimer’s.

This means that family members (even spouses) cannot make decisions about medication, care, life-sustaining treatment or any health and welfare matters. 

It also means no one (including spouses) can make decisions on financial matters such as paying bills/care home fees or selling property to pay for care. In such cases, an application would need to be made to the Court of Protection; a process that can be very lengthy and costly, causing a lot of distress to the family in what will already be difficult circumstances.

How Cunningtons can help

Cunningtons can assist by offering a free review of Wills to ensure they are up to date, and discuss the importance of having a lasting power of attorney with your family members.

If you have any queries or wish to arrange an appointment, please do not hesitate to contact our Private Client team on:

01367 567280

Other sources

If you are concerned about a family member or friend and would like further information and support, some other organisations that may be able to help, include:

Alzheimer’s Society – www.alzheimers.org.uk 0333 150 3456

Dementia UK – www.dementiauk.org 0800 888 6678

Age UK – www.ageuk.org.uk  0800 678 1602

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