How many times have you walked into another room and forgot what you went in there for, or keep asking where have I put my keys or mobile phone?
Well the good news is these are fairly common memory issues often because brought on because we are in a rush or we’re thinking about too many things at once but, for a lot of people, especially those of us heading over 60, more severe memory issues or frequent episodes of confusion and forgetfulness could be the onset of Dementia or Alzheimer’s, and what would you do if it was?
Are you prepared for a life with Dementia? More to the point, what support and help do you have around you?
There are now over 55 million people diagnosed with Dementia across the world, some people live with support and alarmingly some without anyone to help them at all.
If you have ever known a person experiencing a Dementia Journey, you may have an understanding of how hard it can be to cope with one’s everyday living.
Dementia is one of those diseases that follows a progressive path, until a cure is found like so many other brain diseases unfortunately, at the moment it’s incurable.
It’s very daunting to think that you could eventually be diagnosed with Dementia and naturally it’s one thought we are not scared to forget and put to the back of our minds however, there is hope for us all if it happens and it comes in the form of preparation and planning, just in case!
Whilst you still have all your faculties intact, by following these simple ideas and tips, if it comes to it, you will be able to live with Dementia and still enjoy a very full and active life with your choices respected.
Create a Living Will in addition to a Lasting Will
What’s the difference?... you may ask! Well, with a lasting will, you choose who you want to inherit your property and estate after you pass away.
With a living will, you outline your preferences about future healthcare treatments and intervention in case you’re ever unable to communicate your wishes to doctors, other professionals and loved ones.
A lasting will and a living will manage different aspects of your life, but both make sure your affairs are managed according to your wishes.
You can include whatever your desired wishes are in a living will and both types of wills can be made in front of a Lawyer or a Will Maker.
Make a memory box
The most common form of Dementia is vascular dementia or Alzheimer’s which both affect the short term memory, Behaviours with these types of Dementia in it’s late stages often see people referring back to the past.
They may express a concern that they should be at work in a job they retired from 20 years before or think of the self as a child whose mother is waiting for them, A person may also be more settled in an environment they associate from the past such as folding towels and clothes in a laundry or simple tasking in a potting shed. Things that prompt memories are good for stimulating the brain.
There are many ways to capture your life with pictures, words and items, also Technology today is amazing. Record in a nice book your special memories like your previous work roles and when you met and married your partner or had children.
If you have photographs of your past, write on the back of it what it relates to or who the people are and add them into the box along with any items you may have such as books or trinkets that you can relate to.
Make sure you write in the book how they relate to your past so someone can help you remember these things.
Assign a Power of Attorney (PoA)
Most of us have someone we love and trust that will happily take over the responsibility of our affairs in the event that something happens, normally a partner or a sibling or another family member.
However, now is the time to also assign them Power of attorney so they can make decisions legally on your behalf if something should happen.
If you are diagnosed with Dementia, and you have not assigned Power of Attorney to anyone , if you don’t have a next of kin and you don’t have capacity to make a informed decision, the choice will be taken out of your hands and decided by a court instead, and as a result, this can be a very long, complicated and drawn out process.
If you don’t have anyone you can trust to assume this role you can assign a lawyer of your choice instead. Speak to friends and get recommendations of Lawyers that hold a good reputation who are willing to help you.
A Power of Attorney will be vital to ensure any matters are dealt with smoothly and make your life easier when everything around you may be confusing and hard to cope with, The PoA will also have the authority to ensure all care and support requirements meet your needs and your choices especially if you have a Living Will in place.
Speak to a reputable Care Agency, Residential Care Home or someone who may be employed directly to take care of you.
Ask if you can visit them to see their facilities, ask for references and speak to people who they are already caring for.
Once you have found the right solution for you, express your choice of care provision in your Living Will or put it in writing to a person who you trust to carry out your wishes.
It’s easy enough to think that it will never happen to me but often than not when Dementia sets in it is left to someone else to pick up the pieces.
Give it some thought, at the end of the day you have nothing to lose but everything to gain both for yourself and for those that will are for you.
Algarve Care Services are happy to offer advice to anyone thinking about planning for their future through our free presentation lunches around the Algarve.
Please visit Algarve Care Services for a list of events we are running or if you would like to speak to our friendly team of advisers.