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5.1 Planning for the near future

Plan for this year, have conversations, and decide how to achieve your goals.

“What’s Next?”

Some people feel unsure about what they should or can do next after someone in their life receives a diagnosis of dementia. As a care partner you might be unsure what you can do for the person with dementia, or even for yourself. Planning can help you and the person you support. 

You might like planning already, or you may prefer to live in the moment. Depending on your relationship with the person with dementia, you might want to make your plans together or separately. 

As you read this, you might find some useful ideas to keep in mind even if you don’t put your plan down on paper. 

Writing a plan

Writing a plan for this year can help you work out what happens next. It can help you prioritize what is important for you and the person you support now, and the steps you can take to get there. It is about planning for now, and the coming months. 

Your plan can be flexible. As things change in life, your plan might change too.  

The plan you create for yourself is not a ‘care plan’. A care plan is something that health care providers can write to provide treatment or support. A care plan includes the actions that health care providers will do to support you.   

Your plan for the near future can include a ‘to-do’ list of things that you and the person you support want to do. 

Encouraging the person you support to make their own plan for this year can help them stay in control and have purpose. 

You can follow these steps to start working on your own plan: 

  1. Start with what’s important 
  2. List any barriers or challenges 
  3. Plan your next steps 

Start with what’s important

Your goals are the things that you want to do some time in the next few months, or sometime this year. These can be small or big things, but try to make them realistic.  

Start with one or two at first. If you can’t think of anything, write down things that are important in your life. You might like to use the ‘Living My Life My Way’ worksheet.

Example – Things that are important to me

  • Go to visit my daughter
  • Keep working
  • Look after my granddaughter on the weekend
  • Decorate my house
  • Keep mom from feeling lonely and relying on my company
  • Help dad to manage his medications
  • Take 15 minutes every day to relax, and have a cup of coffee

The person with dementia in your life can also use the ‘Living My Life My Way’ worksheet to help them to think about what is important to them.

Barriers or challenges

Barriers are things which get in the way of meeting your goals. Examples might be how dementia affects your life day to day, changes in your family or social life, financial challenges, or other things.  As you put your plan for this year into action, you may come across more barriers.  

Plan your next steps to meet your goals

You can work out next steps by: 

  • Reading through or searching Forward with Dementia and choosing suggestions that make sense for you and add them to your plan for this year.  
  • Talking through your plan for this year with family or friends. 
  • Discussing your plan for this year with your family doctor. Find out more in 5.2 Planning to use services.

Putting your plan into action

Once you have your plan for this year, put it into action. Things won’t always go to plan, but don’t let that put you off. You can make changes to your plan along the way. You may need the support of family or friends to put your plans into action. 

Find out more helpful hints and tips to support you when talking about dementia.

For ideas to talk about dementia with doctors and other health professionals about how they can support you, visit this page.  

Make a plan for the near future

  1. Start with what’s important 
  2. List any barriers or challenges 
  3. Plan your next steps   

Talk about your goals

  • Talk to people close to you, or even a healthcare provider, about your goals and plans for the future