The law and mental health

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The law and mental health

On Monday, January 15 at the Church of the Nativity, St Anthony’s parish, Petit Valley, a congregation of about 100 gathered to attend the start of a four-day seminar on ‘The Aspects of Ageing’.

After a prayer by Fr Christopher Lumsden, Moderator of the Cluster, presenter Justice Ricky Rahim was introduced by June Renie who had organised the seminar.

This first talk was entitled: ‘The Law and our Mental Health’. Justice Rahim explained from the opening that what he was presenting was not to be taken as legal advice but recommendation.

He stated that he is not a medical expert, but his knowledge is that good mental health means individuals are functioning, feel well and can cope with normal stresses of life. He emphasised that managing affairs is most important.

In his job, he had often encountered people who had difficulties with mental health and noticed an increase in persons with mental health problems since the onset of Covid-19. The main function of the aged is to manage caring for themselves and their affairs.

The two main causes of dementia are:

  • vascular: impaired blood flow to the brain which is mainly the result of ageing
  • Alzheimer’s: the early symptoms of which are mild loss of memory, difficulty in concentrating, finding it hard to do daily tasks and being confused about time.

He advised the audience of mainly aged participants on how to prepare for Alzheimer’s. Justice Rahim recommended necessary preparation must be seriously considered as the ones who suffer most when someone falls victim to the disease are those who are close to the patient and have to take care of them. The goal is to get a written order from the court for relatives to manage their affairs but first the following must be done:

  • Identify the assets of the person
  • Quantify the assets (find out their worth)
  • Record the details and have all the necessary identification and banking documents, for example.

By the end of the presentation, the audience was well informed of the necessary steps to be taken when preparing for advancing age. All would agree that it was an evening well spent and we all left the church satisfied that we were better prepared for the years ahead. —Felix Edinborough

Photo by Matthias Zomer