Assessing the Elderly’s Mental Capacity for Decision Making

Organised by Allied World and co-organised by Health Education Promotion Foundation.

The Australasian College of Legal Medicine is proud to be an official supporting organisation for this upcoming free webinar. We hope that many of our members can benefit by attending.

Date: 6 September 2023
Time: 8.00pm-9.30pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (GMT +10)
Cost: Free
Register here: Webinar Registration - Zoom


As the global life expectancy increases and the population ages there are more older persons developing forms of cognitive decline. A study has reported that the global prevalence of cognitive impairment ranges from 5.1% to 41% with a median of 19.0%. How can we determine that an older person has the mental capacity to decide their medical treatment and personal affairs?

Medical practitioners and healthcare providers are often challenged on the legitimacy of an older person’s consent; particularly in cases where patients have existing conditions that impact on their cognition. Besides medical treatment, practitioners also assess whether an older person has capacity to make other decisions such as power of attorney, making a will and delegation of authority. The validity of these medical assessments can be challenged legally and professionally.

Common law states that it should be assumed that a person has full mental capacity unless proven otherwise. UK Mental Capacity Act preserves the common law presumption of capacity as MCA s1 (2) states a person is assumed to have capacity unless it is established that the person lacks the capacity. Capacity is not a static nor permanent condition, but an assessment of the quality of the decision-making process at that given point in time. As such, a person being treated for a mental illness does not automatically render the person incompetent.

In this webinar, a panel of experts from Hong Kong and Australia will discuss how to better assess mental capacity for decision making particularly among older persons from the medico-legal, geriatric and forensic psychiatry perspectives.

Please join us at the webinar by clicking on the button below to register. If you have any queries, please email us at

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