Following our popular blog series on Transition, we have launched a new series on ‘developing vulnerability’. Our aim is to cover some of the issues that may be faced and offer practical advice for those people dealing with situations themselves or on behalf of an individual who is losing or may lack capacity.

What do we mean by developing vulnerability?

Vulnerability can be described as:

Being in need of special care, support, or protection….and may be at risk of abuse or neglect.

Any change to a person’s ability to make their own decisions can result in them relying on others to make decisions about their financial and personal welfare.  Anyone in this position may then be vulnerable and potentially at risk; this may cause immediate problems for them and can be a difficult and confusing time for their friends and family.

Mental capacity refers to a person’s ability to understand and make decisions.  To make a decision you must be able to understand all the information that is relevant to the decision, retain the information and use it to make the decision and, finally, be able to communicate your decision.

Having mental capacity to make our own decisions can be taken for granted but anyone could face a situation where their capacity fluctuates or is lost on a short-term or even permanent basis.

Many people have been affected by the consequences of conditions such as dementia or Parkinson’s. Conditions with a progressive nature may lead to a decline in mental capacity which affects the type of decisions a person can make for themselves.

Some mental health problems may also affect mental capacity, sometimes for short periods.

It is also possible for mental capacity to be lost suddenly. For example, as the result of a brain injury or stroke or during a period of unconsciousness.  In any of these cases the lack of capacity may be a temporary state or could result in a permanent loss of ability to make decisions.

The aim of this series is to present a range of practical articles and information around key topics that those impacted by a developing vulnerability may be concerned with, such as:

  • Decision-making
  • Planning ahead
  • Benefits
  • Health and social care
  • Mental heath


We would really like any feedback from individuals and families who have experienced a legal issue regarding developed, or developing, vulnerability. We are passionate about publishing resources that are genuinely helpful for people, and we would especially like to know if you would like us to cover a particular area or topic. Please use the comment section below to add your thoughts or questions.

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