Medical decisions to consider when planning includes:
Health care planning
For health care planning, an advance directive communicates a person’s wishes ahead of time. Doctors and other providers follow these directives for your medical treatment. Two main documents are part of an advance directive:
A living will let doctors know how you want to be treated if you are dying or permanently unconscious and cannot make your own decisions about emergency treatment.
A durable power of attorney for health care names someone as a “proxy” to make medical decisions for you when you are not able.
A do not intubate (DNI) order, which lets medical staff in a hospital or nursing facility know that you do not want to be put on a breathing machine.
A does not resuscitate (DNR) order, which tells health care professionals not to perform CPR or other life-support procedures in case the heart or breathing stops.
Other types of medical orders, inform healthcare professionals about your preferences for life-sustaining and life-supporting treatment measures during a medical emergency. These have various names but are commonly called POLST (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) or MOLST (Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) forms.
Organ and tissue donation allows healthy organs or other body parts from a person who has died to be transplanted into people who need them.
Brain donation for scientific and medical research, which helps researchers better understand how Alzheimer’s and related dementias affect the brain, and how they might be better treated and prevented.
Long-term care planning
As symptoms progress, long-term care may be needed. People diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or related dementia and their family members should begin planning for the possibility of long-term care as soon as possible. Long-term care can be provided within the home or at an outside facility. When planning for long-term care, it may be helpful to think about:
- Where the person will live as they age and how their place of residence can best support their needs and safety
- What services are available in the community and how much they will cost
- How far in advance you need to plan so that the person can make important decisions while they are still capable
Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s and related dementias. A person’s condition will gradually decline and result in death. That’s why it’s important to plan and make decisions for your health care early on. When planning end-of-life care, quality of life should be considered alongside care that may extend life.