In response to today’s publication of ONS figures on deaths from dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease in England and Wales.

Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of Compassion in Dying, said:

“The figures published today not only highlight the pressing need for more research into the prevention and treatment of dementia and Alzheimer’s, they also serve to demonstrate that advance care planning is now more important than ever.

“Loss of mental capacity is one of the most common and distressing symptoms of these illnesses. Planning ahead for a time when individuals may become unable to make or communicate decisions about their care and treatment is essential in order to help ensure they receive the end-of-life care that’s right for them. If people plan ahead not only are they more likely to have a ‘good death’, but they and their loved ones can also receive great peace of mind and reassurance at what can be an incredibly distressing time. Despite 82% of the population having strong feelings about their future care and treatment, just 4% have recorded them in a legally binding way.

“People who are newly diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s should be encouraged to think about their wishes and preferences and supported to record them in a legally binding way, such as by making an Advance Decision or Advance Statement or appointing a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare.  Without these, there is no formal means for the individual’s wishes to be known and respected.”

***ENDS***

For more information contact Ellie Ball, Media & Campaigns Officer at ellie.ball@compassionindying.org.uk / 02074797732 / 07725433025

Compassion in Dying is a national charity (no. 1120203) that aims to support people at the end of life to have what they consider to be a good death by providing information and support around their legal rights and choices. We are a leading provider of free Advance Decisions in the UK and we also conduct and review research around patient rights and choices in end-of-life care. Our free information line can be reached on 0800 999 2434 and we provide a free website, www.MyDecisions.org.uk, to guide people through completing an Advance Decision or Advance Statement.