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Isobel Mackenzie, seniors advocate, cautious over new policies for Alzheimer's patients

02/25/2015 11:26 EST | Updated 04/27/2015 05:59 EDT
B.C.'s Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie said it's important to exercise caution when creating policies around patients with dementia in the aftermath of a CBC Go Public story that shared the stories of two families dealing with financial decisions made by loved ones with Alzheimer's.

​Both financial institutions in the story reversed their decisions after the CBC started asking questions.

Following the Go Public story, The Alzheimer Society called on financial institutions to be more compassionate and flexible when dealing with clients with dementia.

Mackenzie said it's important for people with dementia to still have power over their own affairs while they are still capable of doing so.

"Depending on where they are in the spectrum, they could still have capacity to make decisions for themselves and enter into legally binding contractual arrangements, but as their dementia progresses, they will at some point lose that capacity," she said.

She said early diagnosis and continued assessments of a patient will allow that point in the disease to be identified.

"Just because somebody has made a financial decision we disagree with — that doesn't mean they don't know what decision they were making. We have to allow and respect for that."

She said while the family members and caretakers of most dementia patients are "the angels," she said it's also important for patients to be protected from those who may not have their best interests in mind.

Mackenzie supports financial institutions having a retroactive process for after something is done by a patient with dementia.

"So that if someone has entered into an agreement and it's deemed that they didn't have the capacity to do that there is a mechanism in place to do that," she said.

To hear the full interview with B.C. Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie, click the audio labelled: Isobel Mackenzie cautions around policies for Alzheimer's patients.

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