Living alone

10. Planning for the future

When you have a diagnosis of dementia, it is important to plan for the future. This could be the type of care you want, or where you want to live if you can no longer live alone. This can be more important when you live alone because you may not have someone who knows what you want and what your preferences are.

You may want to start thinking about what your wishes are and recording them, when you feel ready. Think especially about who you can share this information with. You might want to think about:

  • Lasting power of attorney (LPA) and Enduring power of attorney (EPA) – these give someone you choose the power to make decisions on your behalf, if you can no longer make them yourself. You can have an LPA for health and welfare (which covers decisions about care and treatment, including where you live) or for property and affairs (which covers decisions about finances and selling a house on your behalf) or both. In Northern Ireland, the EPA system only covers property and financial affairs.
  • Advance decision (or advance directive in Northern Ireland) – this records your decisions about future medical care. It is a legal document that allows you to refuse, in advance, specific medical treatments or procedures – for example, whether to be resuscitated if your heart stops. It can’t be used to refuse basic care.
  • Advance statement – this records your likes and dislikes, and your priorities and preferences for the future. For example, where you would like to be cared for or day-to-day things you like to do, such as having a bath instead of a shower. It is not legally binding, but can help people to know what you want if you cannot decide these things for yourself.

For more information see Planning ahead.