Health care and personal care planning

You can name someone to make health-care decisions for you when you are no longer able to do so. This person is called a substitute decision-maker.

Why is this important to discuss now?

As the disease progresses, your substitute decision-maker will have to make decisions about your care. For most people, making decisions on behalf of another person is difficult. By talking to your decision-maker now about the level of care you wish in the future, you will make those choices easier for your caregiver. You will also have the comfort of knowing that your future care will be in good hands.

If you think it would be helpful, write down your wishes. The Quebec Federation of Alzheimer Societies can help you find out if your province/territory has legal documents regarding planning for future health care.

Even if you choose not to write things down or draw up a legal document, talk about these matters. Your verbal wishes can be just as valid. Let those closest to you know what you want and do not want for your future health and personal care.

Work, retirement and volunteer activities

If you are still working, talk to your employer about Alzheimer's disease and your symptoms. Cutting down on your hours and responsibilities may be an option. Or you may have to stop working. If you own your own business, you will want to plan for its future.

Volunteering may provide an opportunity for you to continue using your skills and continue participating in activities that you have always enjoyed.

Living arrangements

For now, you may need little or no help with daily living. As Alzheimer's disease progresses, you will find that you need help with activities such as cooking, housekeeping, shopping and transportation. Talk to family members and friends to see who would be able to help you with these tasks.

Your local Alzheimer Society can provide information and referrals to community and social services available in your area.

These may include:

  • Live-in companions
  • Assisted-living homes
  • Supportive housing
  • Retirement and long-term care facilities

Some questions to ask about residences

Assessing a long-term care facility

Is the residence Alzheimer-friendly?

  • Are staff trained to care for people with Alzheimer's disease?
  • Can you walk safely indoors and outside?
  • Does it have a home-like environment?

What is the care philosophy of the residence?

  • Does it focus on the person's needs?
  • Can it accommodate your personal preferences for food, routines and activities?

What kind of medical care does the residence provide?

  • Can you continue to see your own doctor?
  • Is there a doctor on call?
  • How often does the doctor visit?
  • Can you meet the doctor?
  • How are medical emergencies handled?

What kind of personalized care is available?

  • Can you choose menus?
  • Can you bring your pet?
  • Can you bring your own furniture?

Last Updated: 11/08/2017