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Plan ahead for peace of mind

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Planning Ahead is a vital step for individuals and families after a diagnosis of dementia or memory loss.

That’s the message from ACH Group Dementia Expert Teresa Moran ahead of Planning Ahead Week (September 11 to 16).

Ms Moran says it’s important to document wishes around health care and lifestyle decisions early.

“The best way to do this is to ensure you have an Advance Care Directive, which sets out your wishes around lifestyle, health and end of life decisions and can also involve appointing a substitute decision maker.

“You also need to complete an Enduring Power of Attorney. This involves appointing a substitute decision maker (attorney) – often a family member or trusted person – to manage financial affairs in the event that you can no longer do it for yourself.”

Ms Moran says when it comes to dementia, it is important to document a person’s wishes in a legally binding way before they are unable to make independent decisions due to loss of decision making capacity.

“For people living with early stage dementia we can help them have these important conversations, often with their loved ones, so that their wishes are clear when they can no longer make these important decisions for themselves.

“We encourage people to have conversations with family or trusted friends early, before there is a health crisis or a change of circumstances, such as a move to residential care, to deal with. That way important decisions can be clearly expressed and documented in consultation with others without being clouded by stress.”

ACH Group’s Planning Ahead Advisory Service brings together a team of health professionals to help people understand and set up their Advance Care Directive and Enduring Power of Attorney from their own home or a place of their choosing.

The team advises on resources, suggests family discussions, helps prepare paperwork ready for sign-off and explains the role of JPs who witness and certify forms ready for distribution.

Find out more about ACH Group’s Planning Ahead service here, or phone 1300 224 477.