Spotting someone's mental frailty is often much harder to recognise than physical frailty. I think we all know that many more people are dealing with mental health issues at the moment and the pandemic and loss of normal routine has meant that the mental health of people has deteriorated even more quickly - 82% of carers of people with dementia have said that their condition has become worse during the pandemic (source Alzheimer's Society).
This is being played on by scammers and fraudsters who are targeting the elderly and vulnerable offering them investment opportunities, pretending to be from HMRC or TV Licensing, asking for personal details or money to be handed over. Action Fraud, the crime reporting service run by the City of London police, estimates that more than £14 million has been stolen in Covid-19-related scams.
What can we do to help? A financial power of attorney allows a trusted family member or friend to act on behalf of someone whose mental capacity is in decline or who fears they may not be able to cope in the future. It is not a silver bullet, but it does help.
You cannot set up a power of attorney once someone has lost the capacity to make decisions and instead have to apply for deputyship at the Court of Protection, which takes longer, costs more and limits how much you can do for them.
Now is an absolutely ideal time to have that conversation with your family and get the correct planning in place.