Their plans

Planning with, or for, someone else

Some people will lose the capacity to make decisions about their healthcare and other aspects of their life.

This may happen suddenly in the case of acute illness or injury, or more slowly in chronic illnesses such as dementia.

When this happens, they will need other people to help them make decisions or make decisions for them.

Does the person have "capacity"?

Having capacity means that when making a decision, a person can:

  • understand the facts and the choices involved
  • weigh up the consequences, and
  • communicate the decision.

Knowing whether or not a person has lost capacity is not always clear, especially when this occurs gradually. It may be hard for the person or people around them to recognise that they are losing capacity. At any one time, they may have capacity to make simple decisions (such as what clothes to buy) but not more complex ones (such as how to invest retirement savings). Their capacity may also vary at different times depending on their health and stress levels.

Impact on everyone involved

Key principles for planning with, or for, someone else