Some people describe a sense of uncertainty after their diagnosis of dementia. In other words, it wasn’t clear what they should or could do next.
Creating a life plan for this year can help you figure out what’s next. It allows you to prioritize what is important to you and helps to identify the steps and strategies that are needed to get there.
Having a life plan helps you stay in control and have a sense of purpose.
A written life plan helps the people who support you (family, friends, professionals) to understand what you want. It also allows them to help you live out your plan.
A life plan for this year is exactly that. It isn’t about planning for the long-term future.
Your life plan can be flexible. As things change in your life, your plan might need to change as well.
Your life plan is not a care plan. A care plan is something that health professionals use to guide treatment or support. A care plan includes the actions that health professionals and services do to support you. You are the author of your life plan. You may wish to include a ‘to -do list’ filled with things that you want to do with family or friends.
Some people enjoy planning and would be comfortable with the idea of making a life plan. Others might rarely plan or dislike planning, and that’s ok. Even if you choose not to put a life plan down on paper, the ideas presented in the rest of this article may still be of use to you.
Start with your goals
Start with 2-5 goals that you want to accomplish this year. They can be big or little but try to make them realistic. If you’re having trouble, write down some things that are important to you in life. You might like to use the ‘Living My Life My Way’ worksheet.
Example goals or things that are important to me:
- Go to Vancouver to visit my sister
- Finish rebuilding the back shed
- Keep fit enough to walk up and down the stairs
- Keep driving
- See my friends regularly
If you used the Living My Life My Way Worksheet, you may have already identified things that are meaningful to you, your goals, barriers, and strategies for your life plan.
You might also find the goal setting and planning workbook produced by people with dementia in collaboration with Alzheimer’s UK useful.
Identify barriers to meeting your goals
Barriers are things which might get in the way of meeting your goals. These might be symptoms of dementia, they might be social changes that have happened because of dementia, they might be finances, or logistics, or family or social reasons. As you put your life plan into action, you might encounter more barriers.
Figure out next steps or strategies to meet your goals by:
- Reading through this website and adding suggestions that make sense for you to achieve your life plan.
- Discussing your life plan with family and friends.
- Discussing your life plan with your doctor or nurse practitioner. You might also ask for your home care plan to be modified to better support your life plan.