Families are being urged to obtain Power of Attorneys to protect the wishes of loved ones in the event of illness or accidents.
Glasgow’s Health & Social Care Partnership (GCHSCP) is encouraging people to apply for Power of Attorney (POA) to ensure they are legally able to make decisions about a loved one’s care or business affairs if they lose mental capacity.
POA is a legal document giving a nominated person authority to act or make decisions on your behalf if you lose capacity ie: you are no longer able to look after your financial or personal affairs.
Councillor Mhairi Hunter, Glasgow’s Convener for Health & Social Care, said: “People assume their next of kin will be able to make decisions on their behalf, if they develop dementia or have an accident which means they lose mental capacity.
“Unfortunately, that isn’t the case, legally you must have Power of Attorney, and without it, you may have to go to court to request guardianship which can be a long and stressful process at a time when emotions are already running high.
“Alternatively, the health and social care partnership might have to go to court to apply to become your guardian. POA is a bit like insurance, it’s better to be prepared, just in case - to protect yourself and your family.”
Husband and wife Alex and Sophie Wylie organised POAs with their grown-up children in 2016, when former engineer, Alex, (aged 82) was diagnosed with the early stages of dementia.
Grandmother-of-four Sophie (83 years) said: “Alex was always a very fit and active man. He played badminton until he was 75 years-old, he loved football and was a referee for 45 years. It was such a shock when he was diagnosed with dementia. It’s a really cruel illness.
“Having Power of Attorney has given me some peace of mind though. It has meant I’ve been able to deal with bank accounts and insurance policies which are in Alex’s name quickly and easily, since his condition got worse.
“I would advise everyone to get Power of Attorney organised early. It’s like a Will, everyone needs one.”
Anyone interested in finding out more about Power of Attorney should consult their lawyer or visit My Power of Attorney
Some people may be eligible for a free service.
Glasgow is one of 29 Health and Social Care Partnerships across Scotland encouraging people to apply for POA.