It's very important to plan for the future early.
This makes it easier for someone with younger onset dementia to:
- manage their financial, legal and medical affairs now and in the future
- nominate someone they trust to manage their affairs when they can’t make their own decisions any more.
If you have been diagnosed with younger onset dementia, it is important to make decisions, such as where you will live, while you can still take part in the decision-making process and are legally competent to sign any documents.
You can arrange for a person you trust to manage your affairs through an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA). This is a legal arrangement you can sign if you are legally competent at the time of signing that will continue to have power once you have lost competency and can no longer sign for yourself.
A financial EPA enables a nominated person to look after your financial affairs if you become unable to do so. A medical EPA covers only medical decisions. The laws regarding EPAs vary between states and territories, so it's important to seek legal advice before the agreement is completed, or if you are moving interstate.
You can also make an advanced directive, which is a document setting out your wishes about medical treatment in the future. You should ensure that if you have made decisions about the end of your life, such as resuscitation and life support decisions, that you have discussed this with your GP and that there is a record of the discussion and decisions made in your file at your hospital and with your GP.
It is also useful to have a copy of this handy should you be rushed to hospital in an emergency. Some states also have medical guardianship (which may have different names). This allows someone to choose a person to make medical decisions for them.
Other factors to think about include:
- who can have access to financial accounts
- having joint signatures on all financial accounts
- arranging when and how you will access your finances
- talking to a financial adviser
- sorting out superannuation, medical and income insurance
- writing an up-to-date will.
Find out more about planning for the future with younger onset dementia by visiting the Alzheimer's Australia website or calling the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.
Decisions to make after dementia diagnosis - expert advice
When a diagnosis of dementia is made, a number of things about the future need to be discussed. This video highlights some points you may wish to discuss with your doctor.
Last reviewed: November 2016