Advance directives are documents signed when we are of sound mind to inform those who will be taking care of us in the future — usually our power of attorney — how we want our finances handled and what we would want for medical care under particular circumstances.
Until now, there was no advance directive addressing one’s preference for medical treatment when suffering from dementia.
The National Public Radio show “On Point,” heard on many public radio stations from 9:00-11:00 a.m. weekdays, recently discussed a new advance directive form created to address one’s wishes in the event of the development of dementia.
The form is not legally binding, but could be an invaluable guide to those making future health care decisions regarding the level of care you wish to receive in the event of the occurrence of mild, moderate or severe dementia.
There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Over a period of five to 20 years, people with dementia: lose their memory and the ability to understand what is going on around them; may become aggressive, striking out at people they love; gradually lose the ability to speak, eat, and walk; and eventually die from the disease, often from dementia-related pneumonia. The average time it takes dementia to progress to the severe form, where one is not able to dress or feed oneself, is eight years.
“Health Directive for Dementia” can be found at www.dementia-directive.org. Other advance directive forms may be found at https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/forms/advdirectives/adformspoa.htm.
Act now to do what you can to control your future care, save spending money on unnecessary medical care or avoidable legal costs, ease the burden for those making decisions for you in the event you are no longer able to make your own decisions, and bring everyone involved the peace of mind that your desires can be followed because they have been expressly communicated. Complete these forms and provide copies to the appropriate parties. If you need assistance, contact your local Aging/Senior Services Agency or your attorney for direction.