A lawyer dedicated to helping the vulnerable is urging Canterbury businesses to raise awareness of dementia among their staff so they have a better understanding of what it is like for customers and clients who live with the condition.
As head of law firm Furley Page’s specialised vulnerable client team, partner Nicola August knows only too well how frightening and difficult everyday tasks can be for people with dementia.
“Activities such as shopping, banking and leisure pursuits all hold a number of challenges for a person with dementia but with a little awareness, patience, good customer care and service, friendly staff can make these experiences less of a challenge,” says Nicola who, as a Dementia Friends Champion, is part of a network of volunteers helping to create ‘dementia-friendly communities’ nationwide.
Nicola is also a member of the Canterbury Dementia Action Alliance and is working with the Alliance to encourage local businesses to support Dementia Awareness Week, which runs from May 15 to 21.
“It’s important for businesses to look at how they can improve the experience for customers and clients living with dementia, as well as their families and carers, so that they can continue to be as independent as possible,” says Nicola.
“The Alliance is keen to help businesses raise awareness and empower their staff by encouraging them to attend free Dementia Friends sessions to pick up skills and tips and learn about the effects of dementia. Businesses can also get involved by joining local dementia-friendly community forums.”
Nicola will be working in partnership with fellow Alliance member and Dementia Friends Champion Ruth Dolan, a Chartered Financial Planner with Canterbury-based financial planning experts Tarvos Wealth, to offer local businesses free Dementia Friends information sessions.
“We want to encourage as many businesses as possible to work with the Alliance so that their staff can share what they have learned and start making a real difference to customers and clients in their communities who have dementia,” says Nicola.
“By 2020 it’s estimated that there will be more than 27,000 people in Kent living with dementia. And it’s not just over-65s who are affected – there are a number of groups across the county with younger people in ‘young onset’ groups, many of whom are in their 40s and 50s,” she adds.
“Society tends to have a negative response to dementia but by encouraging our communities, including businesses, to be more accepting, helpful and understanding, individuals can feel supported and continue to enjoy fulfilling lives.”
If you would like your staff to attend an information session and become Dementia Friends, contact Nicola August on 01227 763939.
Nicola August has years of experience in dealing with delicate legal matters surrounding elderly or vulnerable clients who may be living with dementia, or are becoming confused and struggling to look after their affairs.
Her expertise includes helping clients prepare for later life, including Will drafting, Advance Decisions (or Living Wills), Powers of Attorney, care fee funding advice, including NHS Continuing Healthcare, and Court of Protection advice.
Notes to editors:
The Vulnerable Client Team is headed by Nicola August, the only Approved Panel Deputy of the Court of Protection in East Kent and one of just three in the county. All are members of Solicitors for the Elderly, which is an independent, national organisation of lawyers providing specialist legal advice for older and vulnerable people. Nicola August is a Dementia Friends Champion, supporting the government-funded Dementia Friends scheme. She is personally recommended by the independent legal guide The Legal 500.
Tarvos Wealth is a team of independent Chartered Financial Planners based in Canterbury. It offers financial planning services to both individuals and businesses in the Kent area. Tarvos Wealth is listed in the Solicitors for Independent Financial Advice (SIFA) Directory of Professional Independent Financial Advisers endorsed by the Law Society.
Ruth Dolan has been providing independent financial advice since 2004 on a range of areas, including taxation and investment planning, retirement planning, and protection planning. She is also an accredited Later Life Adviser and member of the Society of Later Life Advisers. SOLLA aims to assist consumers to find quality and trusted financial advisers involved in the older client market by promoting the benefits of working with financial advisers who have achieved the Later Life Adviser Accreditation.
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