Practical post-diagnostic checklist
Are you questioning which steps you need to take next? We’ve come up with a handy checklist so you can make sure you’ve got the essentials covered.
A benefits check is a review of your eligibility for government or social welfare benefits. It involves examining your financial and personal health circumstances to determine if you qualify for assistance. The benefits check ensures that you receive the benefits you are entitled to, which can help improve your financial well-being and access to necessary resources.
To get an estimate of the benefits entitled to you complete Age UK’s benefits calculator or call Age UK Oxfordshire’s Information and Advice helpline on 0345 450 1276 (8am – 7pm).
A financial assessment (also known as a means test) is a process used by local authorities to determine an individual’s ability to contribute towards the cost of their social care services, such as residential care or home care. They assess your necessary contributions based on the savings and income available to you.
The Oxfordshire County Council website provides information and guides on how financial assessments work in Oxfordshire.
Care needs assessment
A care needs assessment is a process that evaluates an individual’s physical, mental, and emotional requirements for care and support.
The assessment helps determine the person’s specific needs, preferences, and abilities, enabling the development of a personalized care plan that addresses their well-being, safety, and quality of life. This assessment is often used to guide decisions about the type and level of care services, such as home care, residential care, or support services, that are most suitable for the individual’s circumstances.
Anyone living with dementia is entitled to a free care needs assessment from Oxfordshire County Council.
A financial benefit intended to help cover the extra costs associated with needing help with daily tasks such as dressing, bathing, and eating. Attendance Allowance is not means-tested, which means eligibility is not based on the individual’s income or savings. It is available for individuals who are aged 65 or older and have a disability or health condition that meets the eligibility criteria.
You can find out more about Attendance Allowance by contacting the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) on 0800 731 0122 or through their website.
Council tax reduction
Some people living with dementia will be entitled to a reduction in their council tax. This amount varies based on factors such as income, household size, needs, and specific local criteria. To apply, residents need to complete an application form provided by the local authority, and if approved, the reduction is applied directly to their council tax bill.
Find out if you’re entitled to a reduction from your local council.
You must inform the DVLA if you have dementia. If you don’t, you may be fined up to £1,000. To do so, you need to fill out form CG1 and send it to the DVLA by post, fax, or email.
Those living with dementia will also need to inform their insurance provider of the condition. If you don’t your policy may be invalid, and driving without insurance is illegal.
See our driving with dementia page for more information.
Lasting power of attorney
In the United Kingdom, a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows an individual (the donor) to appoint one or more people (known as attorneys) to make decisions on their behalf, should they lose the mental capacity to make decisions independently. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 governs the creation and use of LPAs in the UK.
There are two types of LPA in the UK. A health & welfare LPA makes medical and wellbeing decisions on your behalf. Whereas, a property & finance LPA will make decisions on your behalf regarding your financial assets.
The distinction between the two types of LPA enables you to set someone to care for complicated financial decisions, while remaining in control of your own health, and vice versa.
It is crucial to create an LPA while the donor still has mental capacity to make decisions. Waiting until mental capacity is lost could result in significant delays and complications. An LPA provides peace of mind for the donor, knowing that their affairs will be managed according to their wishes if they are no longer able to do so themselves. It is also an essential tool in ensuring that the donor’s best interests are protected during potentially challenging times. To find out how to appoint an attorney, visit the government’s website.
Deputyship is a legal arrangement that allows a person (known as the deputy) to make decisions and act on behalf of someone else (known as the ‘protected person’) who lacks the mental capacity to make certain decisions independently. This process is governed by the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and applies to individuals who did not have the opportunity to create a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) before losing mental capacity or if an LPA is not appropriate for their circumstances.
A deputy is appointed by court order. This may not be someone that the ‘protected person’ would have picked, making it vitally important to nominate an LPA while mental capacity is retained.
Advanced statements and decisions
Advanced statements and decisions are documents that allow individuals to express their preferences regarding medical treatment and care in the event they are unable to communicate their wishes. These documents are important tools in ensuring that a person’s healthcare decisions align with their values and beliefs even when they cannot make decisions for themselves.
Advanced decisions are legally binding if they meet specific legal requirements and are properly signed and witnessed. Healthcare providers and family members are obligated to follow the instructions outlined in a valid advanced directive. This includes do not resuscitate (DNR) orders.
An advanced statement is not a legally binding document, it is a general statement regarding your healthcare wishes. Therefore, these wishes do not have to be strictly followed, but accomodations should be made to fulfill the needs where possible. An advanced statement can be made verbally, but it is best practice to put it in writing.
You can read more about advanced statements and decisions on our financial and legal matters page.
Writing your will
Ensuring a legal will is in place is one of the most important acts you can do. A written will ensures that the following is handled correctly:
- Distribution of assets
- Appointment of executors (a person or people responsible for paying taxes, debts, and distributing assets on your behalf)
- Guardianship of children
- Protection of vulnerable beneficiaries
For a will to be valid, it needs to be signed in the presence of people who are not beneficiaries nor related to you. Most importantly, a valid will makes sure your wishes are respected when you pass.
Funerals should respect the wishes of the individual that has passed. In order to ensure this, it is best to contribute to the planning of one’s own funeral.
Funeral planning is a highly individualized process, and the arrangements will vary from person to person. By proactively making these decisions, funeral planning allows you to have a say in how you’ll be remembered and provide a sense of closure and peace for your loved ones.