Mental CapacityApril 4th, 2011
Mental capacity is a relative view of a person's ability to understand and manage their personal affairs, hygiene, well-being and of having suitable social skills.
This is clearly a learnt skill and can be undeveloped as in: being young or deprived, limited by external forces, including physical and emotional abuse and through physical accident, disease and ageing.
That a person deems themselves capable of assessing another is questionable, as they judge another by their own parameters.
Society does little better in comparing a person's mental capacity to that of it's own - average. However this is the basis of community care, taking the words to mean caring for the community, not the community caring for the individual, although the later is the projected value.
The UK has an Act of Parliament describing the default views and regulations to encourage it's acceptance: The Mental Capacity Act 2005, amended.
See Power of Attorney for the relevance of Mental Capacity Act
The view must be that a person is deemed to have capacity unless it can be proved otherwise, and this is for every decision that may be questioned. It is unacceptable to apply incapacity to understand or perform a specific function as a general status to a person. It may be argued however, that a person does not have capacity on a long term or permanent basis for specific tasks.
Read on for legal references:
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