Most people over 65 have not made preparations for how they and their finances should be looked after if they become unable to do so themselves, a survey today finds.
The report commissioned by the Office of the Public Guardian is published ahead of the implementation of most of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 on Monday, including provisions for people to make advanced decisions about their future welfare and finances.
Under the act, people can grant a lasting power of attorney, enabling another person to take decisions about their finances, property, health and welfare issues, should they lose capacity. Existing enduring powers of attorney only apply to financial affairs and property.
The Office of the Public Guardian starts work on 1 October as the registering body for attorneys.
The survey found that 59% of people aged over 65 and 69% of all people had not made preprations for their future care and finances. White respondents (59%) were more likely to have thought about making plans than non-white respondents (30%).
However, 71% said they had a view about whom they would like to take care of their affairs should they lose capacity, and 80% felt if was important that their wishes regarding where they would receive treatment or care were respected should they become incapacitated.
Community Care this week published a survey on the implementation of Independent Mental Capacity Advocate services, implemented under the act in April, to provide advocacy to people who lose capacity and have no friends or family to support them in important decisions. This found half of advocacy groups involved had been been given contracts lasting a year by local authorities, making it difficult for them to plan and develop services.
Office of the Public Guardian (from 1 October)
Guide to Mental Capacity Act