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Living with Dementia

Things to consider if you have dementia Legal concerns

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Legal concerns

Preparing the appropriate legal documents can help calm some initial fears and create peace of mind for the person living with dementia and their family members. You might have questions and concerns about affairs management and personal decision-making.

Legal documents ensure a person’s wishes are known and observed

A diagnosis does not necessarily mean that a person will become unable to manage their own affairs, but if multiple symptoms of dementia are present, or a diagnosis has been confirmed, we encourage taking the appropriate steps and documenting plans for the future. This will help ensure the right decisions are being made by the right people. A lawyer can guide you in completing this documentation.
 

What to expect

There are a couple of legal documents that will ensure a person’s wishes are known and followed should they ever become unable to communicate those wishes directly (for any reason).
 

Personal Directive

  • Details a person’s wishes related to house and/or medical decisions and designates the person they feel most comfortable speaking on their behalf.
  • This document only becomes active if there is ever a time period when the person is unable to communicate their own wishes.
  • The Government of Alberta has published a helpful guide: humanservices.alberta.ca/documents/opg-personal-directives-publication-opg1646.pdf
  • If, ​​after you have reviewed the reference guide, you wish to complete a personal directive without the help of a lawyer or other professional, click here to download the required forms on the AHS website (click "Personal Directives")

Enduring Power of Attorney

  • Outlines a person’s wishes related to financial matters and designates a person they feel most comfortable with making decisions on their behalf.
  • This document only becomes active if there is ever a time period when the person is unable to communicate their own wishes.
  • The Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta has published a helpful reference guide: http://www.cplea.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/MakingAnEnduringPowerOfAttorney.pdf

Where to start

Whether you are living with dementia or caring for a loved one, you can access information and guidance about legal matters from legal counsel. We suggest placing a call to your family lawyer to begin. If you do not have a family lawyer, try reaching out to any of these resources:


Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee (OPGT), Calgary Regional Office
This organization deals with applications for guardianship and serves as guardian for dependent adults if no private individual is available to do so. They also assist clients with decisions to help ensure their needs are met and their rights are respected. You can contact them for general information about personal directives, too.

Call 1-877-427-4525 (toll-free in Alberta)
Visit their website
View their helpful webcasts
Suite 900 Barclay Centre, 447 - 7 Avenue SW, Calgary AB, T2P 0X8


Law Society of Alberta (Lawyer Referral Service)
This referral service helps people find a lawyer who will provide the legal services they require.

To contact the Lawyer Referral Service directly, call (403) 228-1722 (Toll-free 1-800-661-1095)
To contact the Calgary office for other enquiries, call (403) 229-4700 (Toll-free 1-800-661-9003)

Visit the Law Referral Service page
Visit their website
500, 919 – 11 Avenue SW, Calgary, AB T2R 1P3


Calgary Legal Guidance

Call (403) 234-9266
Email: clg@clg.ab.ca
Visit their website
100, 840 – 7 Avenue SW, Calgary, AB T2P 3G2


Legal Aid Alberta
Legal Aid is legal assistance for people who cannot afford to pay for a lawyer with their own resources.

Call (toll-free) 1-866-845-3425
Visit their website
1100 Dominion Centre, 665 - 8 Street SW, Calgary, AB T2P 3K7


Advanced Care Planning
The goal of the Advanced Care Team is to improve Alberta Health Services’ ability to deliver quality care at the end of life to patients and their families in all health care settings. This organization provides information and resources about advanced care planning and Personal Directives.

E-mail: conversationsmatter@albertahealthservices.ca
Visit their website


Kerby Centre – Information and Advocacy
The focus of this group is on providing answers and solving problems. Information is available on topics such as pensions, legal issues, government services, grants, home help, consumer affairs, transportation and more.

Call (403) 705-3246
Email: info@kerbycentre.com
Visit their website

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