05 Feb Planning for the possibility of being diagnosed with dementia
With nearly 10 million new cases of dementia being diagnosed globally each year, planning for the possibility of developing dementia is becoming increasingly important. Typically, we make provision for our retirement, medical needs and family affairs, but planning for the possibility of being diagnosed with dementia is one more thing we should think about.
Planning for life care ahead of a dementia diagnosis
Cognitive decline and memory loss are often the first symptoms that prompt us to seek medical advice. By the time dementia is diagnosed, it has often progressed to such an extent that the affected individual is unable to arrange the care they will need when their condition advances. For this reason, it is worth devoting some thought to how you would like decisions affecting your life and care to be handled. Discuss your wishes with your family so that they will be in a better position to make the necessary arrangements on your behalf should the need arise.
Is a power of attorney sufficient when you have dementia?
While a power of attorney is sufficient for the early stages of dementia, once cognitive function deteriorates further, legal curatorship is required for another person to manage your
affairs. Take the time to speak to your legal or financial advisor about how to plan for this possibility. It is also critical to identify who may be the most suitable and trusted individual to fulfil the role of curator if it becomes necessary.
Care facilities for dementia sufferers
As people with dementia require specialised care, it’s worthwhile visiting some facilities to check them out. Some things to consider include:
- the availability of frail care,
- access to occupational therapy,
- the ratio of carers to residents,
- the comfort of the accommodation provided, and
- the extent to which the care is personalised for each resident.
Healthcare staff who understand the needs of people living with dementia and are trained to provide specialised care is paramount when considering the merits of residential dementia care facilities, as well as the safety, security, comfort and amenities that the facility is able to provide. A visit to a care facility like Livewell Villages can provide a good indication of what is available.
It may not yet be possible to predict if one will develop dementia in later life, but it is certainly possible to prepare the practicalities that would ensure comfort, quality of care and personal dignity should the need arise.
Thank you to the Livewell Group for providing this article.