Plan Early if You Have De­men­tia

Reader's Digest Asia Pacific - - Con­tents -

Plan­ning for the fu­ture in the event of de­men­tia

Have you ever won­dered what re­course you would have to get help if you were un­able to make de­ci­sions for your­self as a re­sult of de­men­tia? Pay­ing bills, man­ag­ing bank ac­counts, sell­ing prop­erty, de­cid­ing where to live and which med­i­cal treat­ments to un­dergo are just a few of the de­ci­sions that might need to be made. Here are some points to con­sider.

PRE­SUMP­TION OF CA­PAC­ITY

Leg­is­la­tion in Aus­tralia, New Zealand, Sin­ga­pore and Malaysia is based on the prin­ci­ple of ‘pre­sump­tion of ca­pac­ity’. This means an­other per­son can’t sim­ply take over your af­fairs – no mat­ter how trust­wor­thy and well mean­ing they may be. Rather, the law as­sumes that all adults over 18 have the ca­pac­ity to make their own de­ci­sions un­less it can be es­tab­lished other­wise.

Soon af­ter di­ag­no­sis, make your wishes clear and start pro­tect­ing your rights. This will pro­vide peace of mind, and give friends and fam­ily clar­ity. In­di­vid­u­als can legally ap­point a de­ci­sion-maker by ob­tain­ing an En­dur­ing Power of At­tor­ney (in some ju­ris­dic­tions called a Sub­sti­tute De­ci­sion Maker).

AN EN­DUR­ING POWER OF

AT­TOR­NEY (FI­NAN­CIAL) al­lows a per­son to nom­i­nate peo­ple they trust to man­age their fi­nan­cial af­fairs in the event of men­tal in­ca­pac­ity, while an En­dur­ing Power of At­tor­ney (Per­sonal/Health Wel­fare) al­lows a per­son to nom­i­nate trusted peo­ple to make de­ci­sions about their health and wel­fare (these peo­ple can be given author­ity to make de­ci­sions about life-sus­tain­ing treat­ment).

These le­gal an­tic­i­pa­tory doc­u­ments needn’t cost the earth and can be ar­ranged in the com­fort and pri­vacy of your own home. Speak with your fam­ily lawyer, or go to www.fight­de­men­tia.org.au or nzde­men­tia.org.

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