Make sure that all your important documents such as insurance policies, mortgage and financial papers are the way you want them to be. Tell someone you trust where they are kept.
In most states and territories, a person can sign a document called an 'enduring power of attorney'. An enduring power of attorney is a legal arrangement that enables a nominated person to look after your financial affairs if you become unable to do so.
More information about planning ahead for money matters can be obtained by contacting the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.
You may need to review your will to make sure that it is up to date and the way you want it to be. In most states and territories a person can appoint one or more people they trust to make important personal and lifestyle decisions on their behalf when they need assistance. These decisions may include choice of accommodation, recreational activities and holidays. In some states, this includes health and medical decisions.
You can read through our legal planning and dementia section for more information about planning ahead for legal matters. You can also contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 for more information.
If you are still working, consider speaking to your employer about dementia and your symptoms. It may be useful to take someone with you to help you explain. It may be possible to keep working a little longer by cutting down on your hours or your responsibilities. If you eventually have to give up work, find out about your entitlements.
If you are already retired, or have to stop working because of the illness, it is important to keep active. For some people, taking on voluntary work is one way to keep involved while continuing to make a valuable contribution to the community.
Employment and dementia section provides more information about making employment decisions.
In some states and territories it is possible to appoint someone you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf if it becomes necessary. If you have not planned ahead, the law in every state and territory allows a particular court to appoint someone to make decisions for you. Two types of tools are available to help plan ahead about medical treatment:
- An enduring power of attorney covering health matters. This allows you to appoint a person to be your substitute decision maker for medical decisions.
- An advance directive is a written document expressing your wishes about medical treatment.
Different names may be used in some states and territories but the function of the document is much the same. This document helps by putting things in place so that your choices will be known and acted on if you cannot express these choices yourself.
More information about planning ahead for legal matters can be obtained by contacting the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 or by reading our Start2Talk resource, which will provide you with the information you need to start planning for your future.
Who can help
A number of people and organisations can help explain these arrangements and how to make them work for you and your family:
- Bank manager
- Accredited financial adviser
- Office of the Public Advocate, Public Guardian or Public Trustee in your state or territory.
At some point, you may need extra assistance in your home or alternative living arrangements. Consider what services are available, and where and with whom you might want to live. Talk about it with your family and friends.
Contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 for information about extra assistance or alternative living arrangements.
The Living With Dementia Series is available in each State and Territory. The program – designed specifically for people in the early stage of dementia, their family members and friends – provides information and support as well as an opportunity to meet others in a similar situation. The program has a positive focus on maintaining and enhancing skill and abilities and exploring ways of managing now and in the future.
There are many benefits from taking part in a Living With Dementia Series. Most people enjoy the chance to obtain information, have questions answered, talk confidentially with others in a similar situation, discuss experiences and express feelings in a safe environment.
It’s good to know there are others in the same boat.
Sharing experiences halves my worries and concerns.
At this group you’re not a dot on the landscape. You can talk to other people who understand you.
You can find out more about the Living With Dementia Series online, or by contacting the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.
Dementia Alliance International (DAI) offer peer-to-peer support programs to people with dementia so that they can access small groups of people with a diagnosis of a dementia. These groups, which include people from all over the world, meet regularly to discuss their experiences and problems but also their strategies for coping with the diagnosis and living more positively with dementia.