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5.5 Plan for when you can’t make decisions

Thinking about advance care planning early is important

Enduring Power of Attorney

Having an Advance Care Plan and a Substitute Decision Maker / Power of Attorney for Personal Care means it is more likely that your wishes will be carried out in the future. 

How Advance Care Planning works differs across provinces and territories. Speak Up Canada and Advanced Care Planning Canada have interactive workbooks for each province and territory which can guide you through some of the decisions regarding your values and wishes.  

See their information at Advanced Care Planning Canada. 

Advanced care planning

Advance Care Planning involves talking to family and friends about your wishes and preferences for your health and personal care should there comes a time when you are not able to make these decisions. It is especially important to have these conversations with your Substitute Decision Maker – the person you name to make decisions on your behalf if you are not able to.  

There are different requirements for Advance Care Planning depending on where you live in Canada. In some places, advance care plans need to be written down. Sometimes the person making an Advance Care Plan must speak to a health care provider. The website Advance Care Planning Canada helps you make an advance care plan – visit by clicking here. In Ontario, visit this webpage by clicking here

Substitute Decision Maker

A Substitute Decision Maker is a person who makes decisions about your health and care when you are not able to. Substitute Decision Makers might be called other things in different parts of Canada, such as a Power of Attorney for Personal Care, a Medical Proxy, or a Medical Agent. 

Power of Attorney or Power of Attorney for Property

Power of attorney or Power of Attorney for Property is a legal document that names whom you trust to make financial and estate decisions on your behalf should you not have the capacity to make those decisions.  

The laws around power of attorney are different for each province and territory. The Government of Canada has information online “What every older Canadian should know about: Powers of attorney (financial matters or property) and joint bank accounts” visit by clicking here. 

And in Ontario visit this page.  

 It is important to think about arranging enduring power of attorney and guardianship now. If you wait until your dementia is too advanced, then you may not be legally capable of giving instructions.