Have you ever considered what would happen to your personal and financial affairs if you lost the capacity to make your own decisions through illness or injury?

It’s national Power of Attorney Day on Wednesday, November 20, and families across North Ayrshire are being urged to arrange Power of Attorney over loved ones in a bid to protect their wishes if the worst should happen.

Power of Attorney (PoA) is a legal document allowing a nominated person of authority to act or make decisions on a family member or friend’s behalf, and North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership is appealing for more people to sign up.

Having a PoA enables you to plan what you want another person to do for you in the future, should you become incapable of making decisions affecting your own affairs. There are three different types available:

  • Continuing PoA, which gives powers to deal with money and/or property.
  • Welfare PoA, which gives powers to make decisions around health or personal welfare matters.
  • Combined PoA, which gives both continuing and welfare power.

One North Ayrshire resident with experience of Power of Attorney told of how her mother had been a proud, independent woman who had raised a large family whilst working part time.

She had asked her daughters if they would consider acting as her Power of Attorney, which they had reluctantly agreed to as they didn’t foresee a time when she would be unable to make decisions about her own welfare or finances.

Sadly, some years later it became clear that their mother was having difficulties with her memory and was diagnosed with dementia.

As the condition progressed, she was unable to recognise her grandchildren or even remember the names of her own children. She became increasingly distressed, lashing out at her husband who himself was not in the best of health. She was also falling regularly and at risk of injuring herself.

Her daughters came to the difficult decision that their mother was no longer safe at home, and with Power of Attorney already in place they were able to make the decision to move her to a care home where she was able to live out her remaining years in safety.

Stephen Brown, Director of North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “While none of us want to think of a time when we may be unable to make decisions for ourselves, setting up a Power of Attorney can be indispensable should you find yourself ill or with a serious injury.

“Without it, your loved ones could face costly court proceedings in order to be able to make important decisions about your healthcare options and finances.

“It’s easy to do, and financial help is available in some cases. It’s never too early to start the conversation with your partner, family or friends, so don’t put it off – when you need it, it could be too late.”

If you’d like to find out more about Power of Attorney, consult your lawyer or visit https://mypowerofattorney.org.uk.

You can also search for the hashtag #PeopleLikeYou on Twitter.