Planning for the Future
People who have dementia and their carers worry about what will happen in the future. Concerns may include who will care for you as the dementia gets worse, whether you will be able to stay in your own home, how you can be sure that your money and other assets will be looked after as you wish, and what practical and medical help you can get.
Consider discussing plans for the future with the people closest to you. Making plans in good time, or at least considering the issues involved in potential care arrangements, medical treatments and finances can bring peace of mind.
Dementia might affect your ability to look after financial affairs. It is important to take some early decisions. Make sure that all the important papers are in order, such as your mortgage, insurance, tax details and bank and building society statements. If you can, go through them with someone you trust.
Making a will
The earlier on you make your will, the more confident you can be that it will reflect your wishes. It can be a relief to know that your financial affairs are in order and that the will can be filed away. Further down the road, it may not be possible for you to be actively involved in making a will.
You may want to consider making a ‘living will’. This sets out your wishes in the event of you being unable to make your own decisions later. It can include instructions about nursing home care, types of treatment, whether you wish to be resuscitated and who you wish to make decisions on your behalf. Give a copy of a will or living will to everyone who is affected by your instructions so they can discuss it with you if they need to and are prepared.
Lasting Power of Attorney
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document available to help you plan ahead for a time when you may not be able to make decisions about your finance and welfare. It allows you to appoint someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf.
You may want to make sure you have done all you can to prepare you and your loved ones for the future. You may have specific wishes about what medical treatment you may wish to receive or what care you would like in the future.
You will also be reassured that someone will manage your financial affairs if you can’t do this for yourself. There are two types of LPAs:
Property and Affairs – this is about your finance, the selling of property and paying of bills.
Personal welfare - this could be about making decisions about where you live and the kind of care you may need, and consent to receive medical treatment.
If you want to find out more about a Lasting Power ofAttorney you can talk to a solicitor or visit www.directgov.uk and search for ‘mental capacity and the law’.
Planning for your future care
At the right time you may want to take the opportunity to think about how you want to live and how you want to be cared for if you become unable to make or communicate decisions for yourself in the future. You may wish to record your preferences and wishes for future care and treatment and one way of doing this is by a process of advance care planning.
A booklet explaining how you can explore different options, record your wishes and who to involve is available from the Dying Matters website.
At some point, you will need to decide whether to remain in your own home, or whether you would prefer to move into sheltered housing or a care home.
If you want to stay in your own home there are options available to help you. It is important not to rush into a decision.
Looking for suitable care accommodation for you, a relative or friend can be difficult. You can find out more about Bolton residential and nursing homes and current vacancies on the Bolton Council web site or by calling 01204 338027.
You can also call the national charity Independent Age advice line Lines are open Monday to Friday from 10am - 4pm.
T: 0845 262 1863
The later stages of dementia
Dementia is a progressive illness and the symptoms will unfortunately get worse. This can happen over a period of months but it is likely to be a number of years.
Changes in behaviour, incontinence, communication problems, changes in appetite and more severe memory loss are potential symptoms that may worsen.
It may be helpful to read more about how dementia may progress but no information can predict just how the disease may progress, as each person is an individual.
As dementia progresses it may become increasingly difficult to continue living at home – your care needs may increase and be more around the clock. You may need to receive specialist care for your own safety. You may develop illnesses related to dementia that make this a necessity.
You may, however, be able to move into a care home (either a nursing care home or a residential care home) where your family can visit frequently.
End of life care
At the final stages of the illness it may be appropriate to move into a hospice or receive palliative care at home to help reduce the physical and psychological distress and provide the additional support to your family.
The Alzheimer’s Society national dementia helpline has trained advisers ready to discuss your concerns from 9am to 5pm from Monday to Friday and 10am to 4pm at the weekend.
T: 0800 222 11 22
There are Alzheimer’s Society factsheets on a wide range of topics related to information about dementia.