Planning for the Future
Planning for the future can help to reduce your stress and worry about ‘what if’ scenarios. A good plan helps people with dementia feel in control of what’s ahead, and for people caring for someone with dementia, you can already be prepared for the changes that will occur and know how to handle them.
Things to consider:
1 - Driving
One symptom of dementia is poor or decreased judgement of distance and direction, which can make it dangerous for people with dementia to drive. Although it can be frustrating or difficult for a person with dementia to give up the privilege of driving, both doctors and the New Zealand Transport Authority have the legal obligation to keep people who are medically unfit to drive off the road.
The NZTA has compiled a factsheet of information about dementia and driving, covering topics such as where to get help, how to test for dementia in drivers, and the required skills for safe driving.
2 - Employment
If you are a current employee with dementia, you may find your ability to work impaired by memory loss. Although there are options allowing people with dementia to continue working, particularly in its early stages, it may also be of benefit to explore other means of financial support.
One option is to consider medical retirement. According to Employment New Zealand, a medical retirement package can provide some financial security. It is also worthwhile contacting Work and Income New Zealand to test your eligibility for a disability allowance.
3 - Money Matters
Memory loss can make personal finances harder to manage. Fortunately, Westpac is now New Zealand’s first dementia friendly bank. Their aim is to help people with dementia to plan ahead, access financial services, and get help to remain independent for as long as possible. Their employees have been trained to help recognise, understand, and respond to the needs of customers living with dementia and they've put together resources that they're happy to share with other organisations who want to become dementia friendly too.
4 - Your Will
It’s a good idea to update your Will before your dementia progresses, ensuring that your money, property, and possessions go to the right person. Changing your Will will only become harder as your dementia progresses, so now is the time to contact a lawyer and your family.
Should you wish to support Dementia Auckland with your finances, you can leave us a bequest in your Will. For more information on Wills and bequests, click here.
5 - Advance Directives
Sometimes referred to as a ‘living will', an advance directive states what medical treatments you would like to receive in the future, should you be unable to make or communicate these decisions yourself. It allows you to tell your doctor what treatment you do or don't want in a particular situation.
It’s a good idea to involve your doctor when you write up your advance directive as they can help you go through the issues involved and it may also be beneficial to write this with a relative or a close friend so they understand your wishes. The New Zealand Medical Association has written a document with more information about advance directives as well as an advance directive sample form.
6 - Enduring Power of Attorney
You might also like to assign an Enduring Power of Attorney, which is an authority given by you to another person to look after and control your affairs when you are unable to do so. It is vital that you arrange Enduring Powers of Attorney for affairs such as finance, property, health and welfare – but they may not all be the same person.
7 - Support Services
Dementia Auckland is one of many services available aimed at helping people with dementia lead a rewarding and fulfilling life – find out more about how we can help here. Other services that could be of benefit include:
- Seniorline– for information about homecare, rest homes, and carer support
- BUPA– for care homes, retirement villages, medical alarms, and rehabilitation
- Dementia Alliance International– a global community of others with dementia, where members support and encourage each other to live well with dementia
- Eldernet– Information about services for older people in New Zealand