More than 421,000 Australians are currently affected by dementia, with this number expected to rise over the coming years. It can occur in anyone, with the likelihood increasing with age. Importantly, dementia is not considered a normal part of the ageing process. Rather, it’s a diagnosis that can be planned for.


That’s because dementia is not a single, specific disease. It’s a variety of symptoms arising from disorders that affect the brain. Symptoms that influence thinking, memory, and behaviour to the extent that it disrupts an individual’s social or occupational activities.


Yet despite how common it is, talking about dementia can be tricky. We don’t like to think about a future we may not be able to control, let alone plan for one. But having open conversations with our friends, family and doctors can ensure an active and fulfilled life for many years to come. 


We all deserve a choice in how we want to be cared for, and planning ahead is a great first step. 


First, start to think about your future 

This can often be the most confronting part of the process. Ask yourself, what has prompted this process? Has it been a dementia diagnosis? Is it the diagnosis of a loved one? You may want to do some research, or chat to your doctor about what medical conditions could affect you in the future. It’s important to surround yourself with people you feel comfortable with. You could even ask friends or family what their own plans are. 


Appoint someone you trust 
You don’t have to go through this process alone. In fact, identifying and appointing someone to speak on your behalf is part of planning ahead. This must be a person that you trust to advocate for you, who can keep their own feelings separate from your wishes, and can talk openly about sensitive issues. You may want to appoint a substitute person too. 


Have a care plan 
It’s best to be specific in how you want to be cared for. You should have regular conversations with your GP about your values, goals, and preferences for medical interventions in a variety of scenarios. Your GP can then provide information, answer questions, and help ensure that your advanced care directive accurately reflects your wishes.


It's advisable to discuss advanced care planning with your GP early on, as part of your proactive healthcare, to ensure that your preferences are documented and communicated to healthcare providers in case of future medical decisions.


Organisations such as Dementia Australia also have worksheets that you can print off and fill out. You should distribute these to anyone who may be involved in making decisions for your future, such as loved ones or medical professionals.


Keep your finances in order 
Your finances are another big part of your life you want to consider when planning for the future. They should be in order not just to secure yourself, but to make it easy for any person who may manage them later. This includes reviewing your assets, ensuring dependents are protected and having a Will.


Review on a regular basis 

Your plan may change! That’s okay, and a normal part of the process. If you have a new medical condition that needs to be taken into consideration, or change your mind, simply update your loved ones, doctors and any paperwork you have. 


By planning ahead, you can make sure that your life remains exactly how you want it now and in the future. For more tips and important worksheets for planning ahead, go to


Or if you or a loved one with dementia are looking for extra support, we’re here for you. Our empathetic Support Workers make sure that together we can reach your goals. Contact us to get started.