4 ways to plan ahead for the future when living with dementia

Planning ahead can be difficult to think about, but it ensures your wishes are followed. Here are four things to consider when planning for the future.

 

Making plans and sharing your wishes with your loved ones can be empowering for you. It will also be helpful for family and friends.

A recent report by Solicitors for the Elderly has confirmed that too often people don’t take advantage of the legal tools available to plan ahead.

People with dementia may not know that they can plan in advance; they may believe family members can make decisions on their behalf if they ever cannot. Legally, this isn’t the case.

We recommend planning ahead as a way of ensuring that your wishes are followed. Make sure that those close to you and involved in your care are aware of any plans that you make.

Lady filling out paperwork

Here are four things to consider when planning ahead

Our helpline advisers are here for you.

1. Lasting powers of attorney

A Lasting power of attorney (LPA) allows you to give those you trust the power to make decisions for you. This is helpful if there is ever a time when you cannot make certain decisions yourself. There are two types of LPA; one is for health and welfare decisions, and the other is for financial decisions. Often people make the financial LPA but not the health and welfare one, but the two are equally important.

An LPA for health and welfare enables families to make decisions about care, treatment, and even where someone will live. Without this, families can still be consulted but professionals will make the decision. It is, of course, up to you whether you wish to make either LPA, but it’s important to consider the value in them both.

Alzheimer’s Society offers a digital assistance service to help people create and register LPA forms.

2. Advance decision to refuse treatment

Making an advance decision to refuse treatment (ADRT) sets out any wishes you have about certain medical treatments. You can specify procedures that you do not want to receive in the future.

For example, you may not want a blood transfusion or may not want to be resuscitated in certain circumstances. An ADRT must be followed by health professionals (where applicable) if you were unable to make the decision yourself. ADRTs need to be written down and must contain certain information.
 

We have a template form to help you create an advance decision to refuse treatment.

3. Advance statements

An advance statement enables you to write down your general wishes and preferences for your future care. This can include anything from your preferences on food, drink and hobbies to where you would like to live.

Advance statements are not legally binding, but must be taken into account if decisions are ever made for you. To go against an advance statement there must be a good reason. You can make an advance statement verbally, but it is best to write it down.


Our booklet, Living with dementia: Planning ahead, provides more information on advance care planning.

4. Wills

Another way to plan ahead is by making or updating a Will. This ensures that the people you want will inherit your possessions. Alzheimer’s Society has its own scheme that helps with the cost of making or updating your Will.


Learn more about our Will to remember scheme.

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What about people that will not admit they have dementure even in the later stages.

Hello Terry, thanks very much for getting in touch.

If the person has not yet been diagnosed with dementia but you've noticed symptoms, or you are concerned about their memory, you should encourage them to see their GP. The GP can refer them for assessment to find out for certain the cause of the problems.

We have a page on our website that may be of interest: 'Concerned about someone else's memory problems?'

It includes things to think about before starting a conversation with that person and other useful information to help approach the subject of seeing the GP.

If you have further questions, we would recommend calling our National Dementia Helpline for advice - they're available on 0300 222 11 22 to provide support and information.

We hope this helps, Terry.

We made our will about 4 yrs ago before my husband got dementia can i update it now weve been married 52 yrs its just that we missrd a family member out

Hello Pamela, thanks for getting in touch.

You can update or change your will any time you like and as many times as you like so long as you have the mental capacity to do so. Just make sure any new one specifically cancels out the last, which is why it is wise to use a solicitor when doing so.

Your update to the will may only require an amendment or a codicil – both of which you can use Will to Remember for. This is our will writing scheme, which gives you £150 off the cost of making or updating your will. Please visit wwww.alzheimers.org.uk/wills for information.

We hope this is helpful.

In addition to all these important things on which Professional Advice is required please don't forget Alzheimer's Disease, if presenting complex overall Health Needs, will qualify for NHS Continuing Health funding with no means testing necessary. This provides funding for all Health Care Needs including Respite Care for the Main Carer. People can remain in the comfort of their own homes with Carers visiting as required up to 24/7. If a Nursing Home is eventually necessary then NHS will pay the costs with no means testing.
Only Local Authority Social Care is subject to financial means testing, not NHS "Primary Health Needs" like Alzheimer's Disease.
Research how this can help you is available on my website written as a Memorial to my late Wife Pauline on https://continuinghealthcare.wordpress.com/
Plan ahead for the future is good advice. Best wishes. Peter Garside

In my book and many,many others Alzeimer's is a disability and a Primary Health Need. Not so the Darlington Clinical Commissioning Group. Having been discharged after some consultation from the local hospital to full time care with a fractured leg in plaster following a fall and a diagnosis of advanced Alzeimer's my wife Catherine was refused CHC. Despite appeals and complaints the DCCG upheld their decision after five months of deliberations. The matter now goes to the North of England Regional CHC Independent Review Team...Bill Burrows.

Bill I am sorry to hear Darlington do not appear to accept Alzheimer's Disease as a "Primary Health Need". If this is true its disgraceful & they need to be shamed publically in my opinion. However the system of marking Assessments can easily be abused in order to ration NHS finances to the public.

My website provides advice on Professional Contacts via the Links page & I urge you to get all the help you can to get your Rights & Catherine the help required. All the details are on https://continuinghealthcare.wordpress.com/

Best wishes. Peter Garside

Peter...many thanks for your advice and I have accessed your website on a number of occasions for guidance.However,regarding Professional Contacts I have a query which it might be better to air other than on a blog...regards...Bill Burrows.

Bill - I can be contacted at the end of my website via the email address provided.

Regards. Peter

Peter...sorry but it does not appear to be there...or is it me? Bill

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