One of the first questions we ask in Metis Ireland when starting your Metis LifePlan journey is, ‘What are your big dreams?’ We believe that money is to be enjoyed. You work hard and deserve to reap what you sow. Knowing your dreams and aspirations and what matters most to you is a big part of financial planning.
As we all know, though, life isn’t always how we expect or want it to be. Some curveballs are easy to navigate: don’t get the college course you want? You can try something different or apply again next year. Don’t get the job you want? Be patient, keep looking and do what you can in the short term to help get the next job. Have to postpone three planned holidays over 18 months because of a pandemic? Just go on them all within six months of the world re-opening! We learn how to pivot from a young age, how to regroup and start again.
But with a diagnosis like Alzheimer’s, this can feel impossible. Every year on 21st September, World Alzheimer’s Day rolls around, right in the middle of World Alzheimer’s Month. It might not feel like the most cheerful date in the calendar – and let’s not sugar coat it; it is a challenging diagnosis for everyone involved. But it’s important to understand the impact it can have and the plans that you can put in place to manage your wishes and your daily life. There are currently around 64,000 people in Ireland living with dementia (an umbrella term that encompasses Alzheimer’s) so it’s not something you can just ignore.
Given that this year’s theme for World Alzheimer’s Day is ‘the power of knowledge’, some practical advice seems an apt place to start.
Like with many diagnoses, you may find yourself hoping and wishing that it doesn’t progress quickly – that you have one of the ‘better’ types. You’ll hold out hope that some scientist somewhere is about to discover some cure that will help you. But all these wishes are sadly out of your control.
There are, however, practical steps you can take to make sure you retain some control over your future. The first step is to identify at least one trusted person in your life with whom you can share your wishes and plans. This can be a very difficult conversation, but it will help ensure that your expressed wishes are followed. It also eases the responsibility of making difficult decisions for those around you. You can take a series of big and small steps to make the short, medium, and long term more manageable.
The big steps to take are your legal plans, financial plans, health plans and safety plans.
Legal and Financial plans can often be the easier steps to take as they are a bit ‘colder’ and less emotional than having to consider what you want your care to look like when you become dependent on others. But it is essential to consider and plan for the following;
What your safety plans are will differ depending on your personal circumstances. If you live at home, you will need to consider risks such as safety at home, wandering, driving and taking medication safely. If you are in a care home or have full-time professional home care, these risks may not be as high. However, it is important to have an advocate who can ensure you are being cared for properly and in line with your wishes. Sadly, abuse can happen in all settings and for many reasons and can sometimes be due to non-professional carers not being able to cope. Family members and non-professional carers should have their own support network and a professional plan to fall back on when they can no longer continue providing the full care needed.
Small steps to help your everyday
Some of your usual day-to-day tasks that you once did without thought can become a bit more confusing. Accepting this can help you manage, and making some small changes should help limit the impact.
The most important step
Enjoy life! After a diagnosis like Alzheimer’s, it is normal to run through a gamut of emotions. But once you have the big and little steps planned out, and have spoken to those around you, you can think back to the unique dreams you have, and do your best to live them. Focus on squeezing all that you can out of life.
We’ve focused specifically on Alzheimer’s in this article, but these steps can apply to any long-term, progressive, or degenerative diagnosis. If you would like further support or information on supporting somebody with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, or if you yourself have received a diagnosis, you can find lots of helpful resources at https://alzheimer.ie/.
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Metis Ireland Financial Planning Ltd t/a Metis Ireland is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.
All content provided in these blog posts is intended for information purposes only and should not be interpreted as financial advice. You should always engage the services of a fully qualified financial adviser before entering any financial contract. Metis Ireland Financial Planning Ltd t/a Metis Ireland will not be held responsible for any actions taken as a result of reading these blog posts.