A national survey has found that just 40% of people over the age of 65 have arranged Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs).
The survey was carried out by Public Trust and Dementia New Zealand. It was conducted by Dynata and surveyed 277 people between the ages of 18 and 85. It found that 91% of respondents are frightened of dementia.
It found that 18% of all those surveyed had arranged an EPA. Nearly 40% of respondents had actual experience of dementia through knowing someone with the condition, with 25% of them having EPAs.
Public Trust says it prepares around 2,500 EPAs for New Zealanders every year.
In the survey respondents were asked about the things people like them should do to prepare for the possibility of dementia. Another question asked which of them they had done. There were big differences in the responses:
What should people like you do to prepare for the possibility of dementia and what have you done?
|Preparation||Should do||Have done|
|Advanced care plan||61%||9%|
|Discuss care options||75%||19%|
|Learn how to support||65%||18%|
Scared but not prepared
The survey is being used in a "Scared but not prepared" campaign by the two organisations.
Dementia New Zealand CEO Paul Sullivan says he is keen for New Zealanders to lose the fear – and stigma – associated with dementia and focus on how education and preparation can improve the quality of life for someone with the condition.
“There are many misconceptions around dementia, but it is still a health issue that needs to be confronted head on,” he says.
“One way to do this is to be prepared. We want people to feel empowered about protecting themselves and their family and not put off critical decisions just because they are uncomfortable about them.”
Public Trust General Manager Retail Julian Travaglia says the survey showed that many people understand what they could do to prepare for a situation where they are incapacitated, but it isn’t translating into action.
“We don’t want to scare people into action, but the consequences of not having EPAs are serious. It’s like not having insurance. Everything is fine until it’s not – until something actually happens," he says.
New Zealand Law Society guides
The New Zealand Law Society has produced guides on the law relating to EPAs and wills. These may be downloaded or hardcopy versions may be purchased from the Law Society using the order form in the Guides to the Law section of the Law Society's website.