Dementia: The Hot Topic of Healthcare
It comes as no surprise that with the global demographic shift towards an aging population and the prevalence of baby-boomers now reaching retirement age, the worlds of estate planning and healthcare are becoming ever more intertwined.
While estate planner’s awareness of the effects of dementia on testamentary capacity moves to the forefront of issues to be outlined during initial discussions with clients, the healthcare sector is battling the condition by analysing both preventative and post-diagnostic care options.
The concerns over dementia have become so ubiquitous that the first G8 dementia summit in London was held, which focused on ways in which to prevent this condition which is expected to affect 1.4 million Canadians by 2040. The summit hopes to develop a co-ordinated global action on dementia, with leading nations pledging to develop a cure, or at the very least a treatment, by 2025.
On the home front, in British Columbia, Premier Christy Clark is hoping to redesign health care facilities to better respond to the needs of dementia patients, calling for specialized beds and training for health care workers. Clark’s statements follow in the wake of the tragic death of 76 year-old Joan Warren in North Vancouver who, suffering from dementia, wandered away from her health care facility and succumbed to the elements earlier last week.
While global and local political attention mounts, and efforts to tackle this terrible affliction escalate, all signs point to a growing social issue worthy of attention from both national leaders as well as individual citizens. Beyond prevention and treatment, it should be quite apparent that those of us who are concerned about being afflicted by such an ailment in the future should properly plan for their prospective incapacity by having Powers of Attorney for Property and Personal Care as well as a well-crafted Will drafted. Such planning may help to ensure that families are aware of their loved one’s last wishes well in advance of the onset of such a debilitating condition.
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