Many people find it difficult to plan for the future. For people living with dementia, it is probably more important, and it can be difficult.
There are many things to consider, including who will make financial, legal and care decisions in the future. Also, a person’s capacity to make decisions varies over time, and varies between situations. This needs to be taken into account at all times and in all decisions.
It is important that the person living with dementia, like any adult, has a will. It is also important that a person with capacity appoint decision makers for the future and make an advance care plan. Although the laws and terminology differ between states, mechanisms are available in each state.
Allied health professionals also have an advocacy role for vulnerable people; these may include people living alone, those with no-one they would like to nominate to be involved, and those who have not made plans and may require guardianship.
Social workers (and other allied health professionals who specialise in working with people living with dementia):
- encourage open discussion about the future
- point towards professional advice about planning ahead.
- may be involved in doing functional assessments for guardianship applications.
The National Dementia Helpline is an Australian Government funded initiative.