Visit to Stoke Damerel School


Stoke Damerel Community College is the school involved as part of the project of The Alzheimer’s Society to make communities Dementia Friendly, where Plymouth was awarded the status as the first Dementia Friendly City in the UK.  They have done projects across the curriculum to do with dementia and one of the things that they had been asked to do was look at the legislation that relates to dementia.

I offered to go to the school to assist, as offer that I was very pleased and proud that they accepted, so on 15th January 2014, I met a lovely group of 6th form girls to discuss the law and dementia.

They had been given a list of statues and Government strategies to consider, which I had been provided a copy of.

I started with discussing dementia, something which they have heard many times before, but I wanted them to remember who we were talking about in being at the centre of this discussion about the law.

I explained that I am a solicitor specialising in issues relating to the elderly and in particular with dementia.  I have many clients who have varying levels of dementia and have visited many care homes.  However I’m not the only kind of person who works with dementia and the law, as there are government bodies, charities and businesses that also work in the area of dementia.

The girls were wonderful and had some interesting questions to ask, we discussed some aspects of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and how as a practising solicitor it works in practise.  I told them some stories of some of my clients (anonymised of course) and we discussed the individuals and their carers.  We also discussed how ideas about dementia have changed over the years and that we no longer use the legal term “lunatic”, but that it used to be a legal concept of someone with an impairment.

We then went on to discuss the Mental Health Act 1984 and how that affects people with dementia and what the difference is between the definitions of the Mental Capacity Act and the Mental Health Act.

I had a fabulous afternoon and the feedback that I have had is that it was useful and that the pupils enjoyed it.

I’d like to thank the staff and pupils for inviting me and making me feel so welcome.  I look forward to meeting you again hopefully.