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Dementia & the General Election

Dementia Awareness Week took place from 14 - 20 May 2017 and was aimed at raising awareness of the various forms of dementia which affect 850,000 people in the UK, including 42,000 people under the age of 65.

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Although dementia is currently incurable, research is continually being carried out by charities such as Alzheimer’s Society, Alzheimer’s Research UK and Dementia UK, to try to find a cure and to support not only those with dementia but also their families. Schemes such as Dementia Friends help people with dementia to live as fulfilling and independent lives as possible.

Can indeed vote

With the general election taking place next month, I was interested to know whether someone with dementia could vote. Following some reading around the subject, I discovered that someone with dementia can indeed vote if they so wish; even if they don’t have mental capacity.

Someone with dementia who wishes to vote is able to as long as they are on the electoral register. However, it may be that the individual would need help getting to the polling station on the correct date, and they may also need assistance once there, although it is a requirement polling stations must be accessible to all voters.

Proxy vote

Another alternative is for a person to appoint someone else as their proxy, to vote on their behalf. However, unlike voting in person, the individual must have mental capacity to request a proxy. The proxy would have to complete the ballot paper according to the person’s instructions and would not be able to decide who they should vote for.

Under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, a person’s decision to vote (and how they vote) cannot be made by anyone else. This is even the case when a person has made a Lasting Power of Attorney, as their attorney cannot vote on their behalf.

Can you help someone?

As it is so important everyone should have their say in the general election, please take a moment to consider if you can help a family member, friend or neighbour with dementia who may have difficulty attending a polling station but would like their voice to be heard.

 

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