It is never too early to plan for the future. As a carer, you and the person that you care for may wish to consider what will happen in the future.
It may be worth discussing now and putting plans in place for any possibilities. Making these plans now can help ease difficult situations later and ensure that the person that you care for can make known any wishes that they may have.
A carers’ assessment can help you to consider what plans you might need to make for your future and the future of the person you care for. Having an assessment will enable us to offer you information, advice and signposting that is relevant to you, your caring role and the stage you are at in your caring journey. Please contact us if you would like to have a Care Act Carers Assessment – www.carersupportdorset.co.uk/contact-us
Lasting Power of Attorney
If you are a carer you may want to consider talking with the person you care for about obtaining a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). An LPA is a legal document that allows the person you care for to appoint someone (over the age of 18) that they trust to make decisions on their behalf when they no longer wish to or lack the mental capacity to do so.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney:
- Property and Financial Affairs – gives you the power to make decisions about your loved one’s finances and property. This could include managing a bank or building society account, paying bills, collecting benefits or a pension or selling your home.
- Health and Welfare – gives you the power to make decisions about things like medical care, moving into a care home or refusing or consenting to treatment.
The Citizens Advice website has a useful page on managing affairs for someone else – www.citizensadvice.org.uk/family/looking-after-people/managing-affairs-for-someone-else
You can also download a Lasting Power of Attorney form on the governments’ website – www.gov.uk/government/publications/make-a-lasting-power-of-attorney
Making a will
You and the person that you care for should consider making a will.
A will ensures that your wishes will be met after you die; your savings and possessions (your estate) go to the people and causes that you care about; it avoids disputes between relatives; and protects your assets for future generations.
A will can also be a way to let people know whether you would prefer to be buried or cremated, and the type of funeral service and music you would like.
Citizens Advice have more information on making a will – www.citizensadvice.org.uk/family/death-and-wills/wills
It is also worth noting that each October, is Free Wills Month, bringing together a group of well-respected charities to offer people aged 55 and over the opportunity to have their simple wills written or updated free of charge by using participating solicitors in locations across England – www.freewillsmonth.org.uk
For parent carers, Mencap has a useful page on making wills – www.mencap.org.uk/advice-and-support/wills-and-trusts-service
Advocacy might be helpful if you feel that you, or the person you are caring for, need some support to help you to speak up. If you are unable to speak for yourself, they can speak on your behalf to help you get what you are entitled to. Advocates are neutral and independent and what you say to them is confidential. They will work directly with you to help you have your say and deal with difficult issues.
If you or the person you are caring for is asking for or using a service provided by social care, you may find that it is not always easy to express your wishes or preferences. If decisions are being made that affect your future, an advocate can speak up for you in these situations or help you to put across your point of view.
In Dorset, the advocacy service is provided by SWAN Advocacy. Find out more on our advocacy page – https://www.carersupportdorset.co.uk/information-hub/advocacy