Dementia Awareness Week 2019 takes place in Scotland between 3rd and 9th June. Private Client Solicitor Shannon Gibson explains why she has chosen to take part by becoming a Dementia Friend.
As a Private Client solicitor, I work with individuals and families, providing legal advice on a variety of matters such as wills and succession planning, trusts, taxation, and Powers of Attorney. Because of the nature of the work I do, a lot of my clients are elderly or vulnerable. I often encounter clients who are suffering from Dementia, whether in the early stages or more advanced.
Dementia is caused by a number of diseases which can affect the brain, but common symptoms include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. Because public understanding of Dementia is poor, people with Dementia can often feel misunderstood, marginalised and isolated. This week is Dementia Awareness Week in Scotland, and I decided to take part by becoming a Dementia Friend, and encouraging my colleagues to do so too.
Dementia Friends Scotland is an Alzheimer’s Society initiative, aimed at raising awareness about Dementia and encouraging people to understand what it is like to live with Dementia and turn that understanding into action.
For me, when dealing with clients in my professional capacity, that action can be as simple as being patient, talking through things slowly, repeating information where necessary and offering to help with tasks which might otherwise prove difficult or confusing, such as form filling.
Above all, being a Dementia Friend is simply understanding the importance of being calm, patient and kind when advising and assisting clients suffering from Dementia.
Dementia can make even simple tasks seem overwhelming, but it is vital that people feel they can approach a solicitor for advice and are not discouraged. The initiative is a fantastic idea, and I think it will make a real difference to those living with Dementia. I hope that, by coming a Dementia Friend, I can make the process of making a Will, or granting a Power of Attorney, as simple and straightforward for my clients as possible, particularly those suffering with Dementia.
For further information about Dementia Awareness Week or how you can get involved, visit https://daw.alzscot.org/ To learn more about becoming a Dementia Friend, visit https://www.dementiafriendsscotland.org/ For advice about any of our Private Client services, please get in touch.