A Practical Guide for Dementia

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Never delay seeking advice or dialling emergency services because of something that you have read on HealthUnlocked.

Money and legal matters

General

It's likely that you will eventually need a good deal of help, support and care - but that time may be many years away. Right now, while you are still able to decide things for yourself and can clearly tell people what you’ve decided, there’s practical planning you can do around legal matters and your future care.

Power of attorney

Power of attorney

Choose someone to manage your affairs if you become unable to do so. The person you choose is called your 'attorney'. It could be your partner, another relative or friend, or anyone you trust - you can have more than one. You can create a legal lasting power of attorney (LPA) to let the person you choose make decisions about your money and property and/or your health and wellbeing. You can let the attorney look after your money and property any time after the LPA is set up or only if you become unable to do it yourself. The health and wellbeing power can be used only if you lose the ability to make your own decisions - this is called losing mental capacity. Go to GOV.UK for more information, and to set up an LPA.

Future care

Future care

You can make an 'advance statement' about how you wish to be cared for if you become unable to tell people. This can cover areas of your life from religious beliefs to where you'd like live if you couldn't be at home. It can cover all manner of things, such as what you like or don't like to eat, whether you prefer a shower to a bath, or even what sort of music you prefer. It's not legally binding but must be considered by those looking after you.

You can also make an 'advance decision' - formerly called a living will - if you know there are specific treatments you'd want to refuse in certain circumstances. There are strict rules about advance decisions but, if valid, they are legally binding on medical staff.

Age UK provides a good factsheet on making advance decisions and statements.

You could also use MyDirectives, a free service that lets you store your preferences securely online so they can be shared with your family and medical staff if they are needed.

Wills

Wills

If you haven't made a will already think about doing it now. If you don't make one, you won’t have any say over where your money and possessions go. It doesn't have to cost anything at all, though you can pay to use a lawyer or will-writing service if you want. GOV.UK has a straightforward guide to making or updating a will.

Sort out all your important papers, such a pension documents, savings records, insurance policies, banking details and so forth and keep them together in a safe place. This will make it easier for you to find and manage everything and will help others if they have to take over these things for you.

Content on HealthUnlocked does not replace the relationship between you and doctors or other healthcare professionals nor the advice you receive from them.

Never delay seeking advice or dialling emergency services because of something that you have read on HealthUnlocked.