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Dementia affects the way you think. As it progresses, you might find it harder to make decisions and tell people what you do and don’t want.

Before this happens, you can pick a person you trust who will make decisions for you if you can’t.

Choosing your decision-maker

The person you pick to be your decision-maker should:

  • meet your state’s legal rules for acting as your representative
  • be willing to speak up for you
  • know and respect what you want
  • live close by or be able come quickly if needed
  • understand what matters to you
  • be someone you trust
  • be willing to talk about difficult things
  • be available for a long time: you might not need them soon
  • be good at sorting out disagreements between family, friends and doctors
  • advocate for you if doctors or hospitals don't listen.

Supporting your decision-maker

Once you’ve chosen your decision-maker, you can help them by:

  • making sure they really want to do this
  • explaining clearly what they'll need to do
  • talking about what care you'd like in the future
  • telling them about your health and the choices you might need to make
  • explaining what they should do when they speak for you
  • giving them documents that outline what you want
  • teaching them how to step in as your decision-maker
  • telling other people in your life who you've chosen and why
  • asking them to support your choices if there are problems.

Choosing someone to make decisions for you when you can’t is a big step. 

Take time to pick the right person and support them along the way to make sure your wishes are respected, if one day you can't express them yourself.

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Last updated
14 December 2023