What would you do if a loved one lost their ability to make decisions for themselves, leaving you to work out what to do about their finances, their healthcare, their Will and other major issues affecting their future?
Now think how much easier this would be if they had discussed these issues with you beforehand.
For many, planning ahead is a daunting and confusing task but it is better for you and your loved ones to talk about your future now, while you still can.
If you cannot express your choices personally at some time in the future due to a sudden accident, illness or condition such as dementia, then planning ahead will ensure that your choices on health care, lifestyle or finances are known and acted on by those closest to you.
What does planning ahead involve?
Planning ahead is important, as you still have a say in how decisions are made for you when you can no longer speak for yourself.
Step 1: Start to think about your future
Get an understanding of your health conditions and how these might affect you in the future.
Step 2: Sort out your financial issues
Sort out your financial issues and organise someone else who can manage your affairs if you can’t do this at some time in the future.
Step 3: Choose who will speak for you
Make sure you have someone of your choice who will make decisions about your lifestyle and healthcare if you can’t do this at some time in the future.
Step 4: Express your health and care wishes
Consider writing down your values and wishes in an advance care plan and making sure you give copies to your GP and to anyone who may be called on to make decisions on your behalf in the future.
Step 5: Discuss your wishes and plans
Talk to the person(s) who may end up making decisions for you about your values and wishes regarding the type of care and interventions you would want for yourself toward the end-of-life.
Step 6: Review your wishes and plans
Continue these discussions over time as your wishes may change as your health and lifestyle changes.
Start the conversation today
Visit start2talk.org.au and take a look at the worksheets and resources available there, then talk to your loved ones about your wishes and show them information from the website.
You can complete the six step plan online or print out the worksheets and complete them by hand.
The Start2Talk website was developed as part of the Alzheimer's Australia National Quality Dementia Care Initiative with support from the JO & JR Wicking Trust and Bupa Care Services.