Edinburgh dementia research event offers legal advice for older residents

05 June 2018

Edinburgh solicitors Susanne Batchelor and Stewart Gibson were joined by scientist Jill Fowler at an event on Saturday 2 June that offered legal advice to people who are planning for the future, as well as information on dementia.

Dementia is now the leading cause of death in the UK and is most likely to affect those over 65. The charity Alzheimer’s Research UK has been running events across the country to help older people plan effectively for the future as well as offering them the chance to learn more about dementia research.

The event, which took place at Riddle’s Court, Lawnmarket, also featured a presentation by Emma Bates, Gifts in Wills and In Memoriam Marketing Officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK.

She explained to the audience the benefit of leaving a gift in their Wills to a charity of their choice, like Alzheimer’s Research UK. Gifts in Wills help fund pioneering research into dementia, which is crucial as there are currently no treatments that can slow or prevent the development of dementia.

She said:

“Our mission at Alzheimer’s Research UK is to bring about life-changing treatments for people with dementia. We can’t achieve this without the generous support from so many people who choose to leave gifts in Wills to Alzheimer’s Research UK.

“These gifts help to protect our children, grandchildren and future generations from the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia.”

Dr Jill Fowler, who is an Alzheimer’s Research UK Senior Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, addressed the audience about progress that has been made in dementia research and also spoke about her own work.

She said:

“Dementia is not a disease in itself. It is a word that describes a group of symptoms that occur when brain cells stop working properly. There are several causes of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common.

“Researchers are working to understand more about the condition, as well as to develop new treatments that could slow or prevent its development in the future.

“The work I do at the University of Edinburgh focuses on a protein called Nrf2 and its ability to protect against damage caused by reduced blood flow in the brain, which may be an early contributor to Alzheimer’s.”

Susanne Batchelor, partner at law firm Brodies, was on hand to offer advice about legal issues that affect people as they get older. She spoke about the necessity of making a Will, the importance of having a Power of Attorney, and inheritance tax.

She said:

“We should all plan for our future, but it is something that many do not think about until they reach older age. Creating a Will with a qualified solicitor and also ensuring that it is kept up to date is essential, but it is also extremely important that older people know about the differences between, and the importance of, continuing and welfare powers of attorney, as well as issues such as Inheritance Tax.

“The UK population is ageing and more people than ever before are living with dementia. Therefore, it is vital that older people have access to expert legal guidance to ensure their wishes are met and to avoid costly and often lengthy court applications.”