Why it is important to plan your care

We share some common questions and concerns people have about making plans for living a life with dementia. These explain why it might be important to start making plans for your health, wellbeing and support.

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    Q1 – Why should I think about making plans?

    We all make plans. We make plans for many reasons. Some are everyday plans, such as choosing a recipe and shopping for a meal. Sometimes we plan further ahead such as booking a holiday.  There are also major life decisions such as where to live.

    Plans can be a helpful way to manage our time, money and our lives generally.

    Often our plans involve other people and are made informally. However, some plans are more formal and may even involve drawing up legal documents.

    You may not feel ready yet to make plans. This is okay.  It may not feel right for you at the moment.  It can be something you come back to when you are ready.

    if you are uncertain about making a plan right now, it might be helpful to think about identifying a key person (perhaps a relative or friend) who you would be happy for professionals involved in your care to speak to.

    Q2 – How will planning ahead help me to live life with dementia

    You may need support now or in the future to help you to live life with dementia. Your support needs are likely to change over time.

    Making plans for what support you might need now and in the future can help you think about what is important to you. You might make plans to support your physical health, wellbeing and also cover important decisions you may need to make about treatment and where you live.

    Making or sharing your plans with others such as family, friends and or healthcare providers can help others to understand your wishes and what is important for you to live well.

    Q3 – Will planning help me to stay in control of decisions about my health, wellbeing and care?

    Making plans can help you to stay in control over day to day decisions about your life, but also bigger decisions such as the care and treatments you may receive, and where you may live.

    There may come a point when you no longer feel able to make important decisions and someone may need to make these on your behalf. Making sure people are clear about what you would like – and writing these down can make sure that your wishes are known.

    These written plans may be informal documents or legal documents. We can guide you to the different types of written plans available.

    Q4 – If I make a plan, can I change it?

    A plan is something we mean or intend to do. As we know– plans sometimes need to change. We may change plans through choice or to respond to a situation or other people. Therefore plans need to be flexible.

    Plans should be revisited over time to make sure that they are still appropriate, or if you have changed your mind.

    Informal documents such as your wishes for everyday support should be easy to change.

    Legal documents can be more difficult to change and may require a professional to support this. Some legal documents cannot be changed if you no longer have legal mental capacity* to make certain decisions

    *MCA act applies England and Wales – other countries have own legal systems and definitions

    Q5 – What kinds of plans can I make?*

    Financial and legal plans Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that lets you appoint a trusted person to make decisions on your behalf, or help you make decisions. This may be a close family member or friend. Lasting Power of Attorney gives that person legal authority to make decisions on your behalf. These decisions may include healthcare and, where you live, managing your money and property. (Signpost to resources).

    Care planning is a way of thinking about and documenting your current needs and wishes for your health and care. Everyone in the UK with a diagnosis of dementia should be supported to make a care plan. This should be reviewed regularly. (Signpost to NHS resources and our care plan)

    Advance care planning is a means to supporting good care as dementia progresses towards the advanced stages. Evidence suggests that planning for this care as soon as possible is beneficial. There are a range of plans which can be used to help start advance care planning (Signpost to resources).

    Some resources to help you with care planning

      My Advance care plan:  https://www.dementiauk.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/DUK_ACP_form_editable_online.pdf

      This is me: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/sites/default/files/2020-03/this_is_me_1553.pdf

      Comfort care plan https://www.futurelearn.com/info/courses/comfort-care/0/steps/55334

      Include a narrative of how useful someone found planning

      Things To Try

      Keep a journal of your daily tasks

      Write down future appointments in a calendar

      Use our Toolkit App

      Things To Try and Avoid

      Don’t make too many commitments for one day, spread them out throughout your week instead

      Don’t get upset with yourself if you miss a goal or an appointment