Hi hope you can offer some advice, an old friend of mine who's got early stage dementia has also just been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Them and their family have been knocked for six by this and I'm trying to offer what help I can. What kind of things do they need to be thinking about now so that as things progress things aren't made worse by a lack of preparation? Thank you.
Hello, thank you for your question. I’m sorry to hear about your friend’s
dementia and cancer.
There are various different ways to plan ahead, from writing or updating a
will to planning care and medical wishes and making provision for someone else
to manage finances and healthcare decisions. Your friend should be as fully
involved in these discussions as possible and family may need to pick the best time to discuss things with them because someone with dementia is typically more receptive at certain times than others.
Setting up lasting power of attorney (LPA) would mean your friend giving
someone of their choice (an attorney) the power to make decisions on their
behalf. On health and welfare matters drawing up and registering an LPA enables
the attorney to make healthcare decisions along with choices about where someone lives
when they longer has capacity to make decisions. Another LPA can be drawn up to
enable your friend to have someone manage their money and property affairs. This LPA can be registered and used before someone loses capacity, to help
someone manage their bills, bank accounts, etc.
It can be helpful for people to think about their wishes for the future
regarding their future care in case there comes a time when they can’t make
decisions for themselves. These wishes can be documented in an advance
statement. It isn’t legally binding but should be looked when professionals are
considering care arrangements and can cover all manner of things from food and
drink preferences, spiritual and social wishes to where they would prefer to
live, including discussing where they would like to spend their final days.
Future medical care wishes can also be planned for in advance via a
document called an advanced decision which is legally binding if it’s been
drawn up in a particular format. This gives the right to refuse specific
medical treatment and should be drawn up in discussion with the GP.
We have factsheets on all these areas, available on our website at the
following link: http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents.php?categoryID=200137