Recent figures released on the rising threat of dementia add strength to a growing body of evidence indicating that the condition is a time bomb which families must be prepared for.
The report suggests that a third of babies born this year will develop dementia in their lifetime.
At present, there are an estimated 86,000 people living with dementia in Scotland. In as little as 20 years, this number is expected to almost double and by the time our youngest generation reaches older age the condition will be even more prevalent.
The legal and financial implications of an ageing population are being felt now by the families of those currently in their later years. We are finding that because of this increasing numbers of younger clients are keen to make provisions now for their later years which go beyond inheritance planning.
Many people in middle age are having to deal with the legal and financial implications of older age for their parents. The current older generation may not have been so prepared to live to such advanced years and as a result do not have in place adequate legal and financial provisions. Dealing with these matters once issues such as dementia are already a factor make the whole process far more difficult to manage. For that reason, younger people are increasingly keen to ensure their children don’t have the same problems to deal with in a generation’s time.
Demand for services relating to support for older people, such as our LaterYears service, are increasing. It's good to see younger clients thinking ahead and coming to us to make their Will, or discuss Guardianships or care options. This increasing awareness of the importance of preparing for older age is reflected in the country as a whole - figures earlier this year indicated the number of Powers of Attorney being granted in Scotland had increased by 18 per cent. However we believe more still needs to be done.
As a society, we need to face up to this ticking time bomb and address how we manage our ageing population. As individuals, we need to take responsibility now for anticipating our later years and be prepared should we develop dementia, both to ensure our own wishes are respected, and to save our family some of the heartache associated with this terrible condition.