Six Ways to Plan Ahead if You Are Diagnosed with Dementia

7 February 2019
Dakota Murphey
Male nurse helping an elderly male dementia care patient walking

Facing a diagnosis of dementia, many people worry about what the future holds for them. Of course, it should be made clear that people living with dementia can continue to enjoy very full and fulfilling lives, however, it becomes important to make arrangements for the future. The planning ahead may seem premature, but dementia can be a very unpredictable condition – you will have better peace of mind by having these details dealt with.

With that in mind, here are six ways that you can plan ahead if you have been diagnosed with dementia. It is possible to make plans for all aspects of your life from financial issues to the kinds of treatment that you would like to receive.

Create a Lasting Power of Attorney

One of the most important things that you can do if you have been diagnosed with dementia is to create a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). This is a legal document that gives an adult the authority to make decisions for another adult. It is important to make an LPA, so that if at some point you require someone else to make decision for you, the paperwork is already in place.

There are two specific forms of LPA – the first takes care of property and financial matters, while the second deals with health affairs. Both forms of LPA can be easily completed, either online or by filling in paper forms and getting them registered.

Managing your money

Many people diagnosed with dementia worry about money issues – how can you ensure that you are paying bills or using your money wisely when you are facing the condition?

Dementia is most often associated with memory problems, but it can also affect sufferers in a variety of ways such as visual-spatial skills and language. This can be challenging for a variety of reasons related to money, including remembering PINs and organising cash payments. It can be sensible to arrange direct debits for as many payments as possible. Contactless cards can also be used for payments of under £30.

Leave a will

It is important that everyone should make a will, but if you have dementia, it is vital to make any important changes now so that the future is covered when you pass away. A will states who your assets, property and possessions should go to when you die. Some people assume that they need to talk to a solicitor to make will, but in fact it can be as simple as buying a DIY will, in which you can buy a standard will template and simply follow the instructions.

For some people it may be necessary to take the advice of a solicitor or a financial planner before making a will, as you may need to consider issues such as inheritance tax, if you have a large estate.

Plan for a funeral

Once again, this can feel like a morbid subject, but ultimately it important to have a plan in place for your funeral to make things as easy as possible for your loved ones when you pass away. It has become common to pay in advance for funerals to save the expense on your family or to pay for insurance to cover the cost.

Speak to funeral services providers and discuss the matter with your close family so that they are aware of what is going on.

Advance decision to refuse treatment

You may always wish to make decisions about your future medical treatments – for example, there may be some treatments that you may not wish to receive. If you become ill and you are presented with treatment options by medical professionals, the wishes in your advance decision would have to be honoured.

Advance statement

You can also create a document known as an advance statement, which lists more general wishes for future care. This could take into account things such as food preferences as well as music you like, your hobbies and interests and films you enjoy watching. It can also allow you to make statements on your desires, such as preferring to die at home or in hospital.

Advance statements are not legal documents, but they must be considered when decisions are made for you by your LPA, or anyone else.

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