Carers tell us that ‘living well’ involves being confident about supporting someone with dementia and being able to continue to do things in life that give pleasure or a sense of satisfaction. These activities are different for all of us and can be anything. For example:
- maintaining the car or garden.
- cooking meals for the family.
- spending time with grandchildren.
Some we do alone, some with other friends, or some together with the person with dementia. However, we can feel that dementia ‘gets in the way of living life well’. We might have stopped doing things we used to do. Plans and expectations about the future may now feel uncertain.
Dementia can feel overwhelming, but planning gives a sense of being prepared and exercising some control. This section of the website is designed to give you practical strategies to enable you, and the person you support, to plan to live as well as possible. This section covers making a ‘life plan’ to help you think through obstacles that get in the way of enjoying life; planning to use services; planning for the future wishes of the person you support and yourself; and legal and financial plans. There is a lot to think about and do. You don’t have to do it all now, take it step by step.
Some people feel unsure about what they should or can do after someone they love receives a diagnosis of dementia. Writing a life plan for this year helps you figure out what’s next. It helps you prioritise what is important to you, and what steps and strategies you need to get there.
Having a life plan helps you stay in control and have purpose. We encourage people with dementia to make a life plan and share it with family members or friends who can help them achieve their goals. A life plan is also something you can do together with the person you support.
Your life plan is flexible. As things change in your life, your plan might need to change. Your life plan is not a ‘care plan’. A care plan is something that health professionals and services write, ideally in partnership with the person with dementia and you, so that they can treat or support you both. You write your life plan; the actions in your life plan are things that you and your family do.
Some of you reading this might like planning and might be comfortable with the idea of making a life plan. Some of you might rarely plan, or dislike planning, and that’s ok. As you read through the rest of the pages in this section, the steps might be useful even if you don’t put a life plan down on paper.