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Understanding mental capacity
Understanding mental capacity

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Week 7: Older people


Most older people have a lifetime of experience in making decisions for themselves and others, as parents, carers, employees and citizens. To be assessed in later life as no longer having the mental capacity to function in this way is likely to be disorientating and distressing. This week you consider the mental capacity of older people. 

By the end of this week you should be able to:

  • explain some of the attitudes towards and expectations of older people in UK society
  • explain how assessing mental capacity often involves balancing risk and safety against choice and wellbeing
  • define what it means to be a ‘person’
  • describe three common issues for older people that are linked to mental capacity: driving vehicles, daily living routines and living alone
  • outline three mechanisms where decision making is delegated or wholly assumed by others: power of attorney, advanced decisions and the Court of Protection.