As we get older our memory will quite often start to fail, however when someone has some form of dementia this deterioration in their mental capacity can be quite rapid. There are many forms of dementia and the part of the brain that is effected will determine the diagnosis. It is often difficult to diagnose dementia in its early stages. Sometimes the symptoms may be caused by other factors.
A series of tests will be carried out to gain the correct diagnosis which could include; an assessment of your mental abilities, medical history, CT or MRI scans of the brain and also any medication that you may have been prescribed as this can sometime have an effect on our mental capacity. Full details of the Mental Capacity Act can be found if you click here to understand its powers.
Under the law in England a person is presumed to have mental capacity unless evidence exists to the contrary. When considering the long term care needs of the elderly it is important therefore to keep them involved in the decision making process unless proof exists that they no longer have the mental capacity to make decision for themselves.
A lasting Power of Attorney (formerly an Enduring Power of Attorney) may have been established before the elderly person lost mental capacity. Once it is established that they can no longer make decisions for themselves, this needs to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. They hold a register for the all the Lasting Power of Attorneys. If a Lasting Power of Attorney was not established before the loss of their mental capacity then the Court of Protection would need to appoint a Deputy to act on your behalf. This is known as a court appointed deputy. Someone acting as an attorney or a Court appointed Deputy, must at all times act in the best interest of the person they are acting for.