A Falmouth-based solicitor is taking steps to become 'dementia friendly' in order to help sufferers organise their plans for the future at an early stage.
Following consultation with the Falmouth Dementia Action Alliance initiative, staff at Preston Goldburn will be provided with training and guidance on best practice when dealing with clients suffering from the illness, which can cause severe problems with memory and communication.
The training will allow the firm to better help those with dementia plan ahead and make their wishes known regarding issues like future accommodation and healthcare or granting power of attorney to a loved one.
Solicitor Jeremy Edwards said documenting such details at an early stage is vital in ensuring an individual's wishes are met as their dementia progresses.
"We advocate empowering dementia sufferers to do as much as they can before their illness overtakes them," he said. "The initial diagnosis will come as a shock for many sufferers and they may find it difficult discussing it with those close to them.
"As surprising as it may sound, many people find it easier to discuss such matters with professionals such as solicitors as we are able to take an independent view."
In his role as chairman of Falmouth Chamber of Commerce, Mr Edwards will advocate that members adopt a similar stance in making their businesses dementia friendly.
Representatives from the Falmouth Dementia Action Alliance will make a presentation to Chamber members at its meeting on February 18 at 6pm at the Greenbank Hotel, Falmouth.
Dementia is an incurable illness that takes many forms, the most common of which is Alzheimer's disease which worsens as it progresses and eventually leads to death. Around 800,000 people in the UK currently suffer from dementia and it is thought likely to affect one in three people living today at some point in their lives.