A diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) comes with a lot of uncertainty. Shortly after your discussion with your doctor, you may have wondered what your diagnosis means for the future. Many people worry about being a "burden" on their loved ones in the future, especially if MCI turns into dementia.
While we cannot predict the future with certainty, we do know that having MCI increases the likelihood of dementia, which means that you may eventually need help making major decisions due to the thinking problems that come along with your condition.
This is tough to think about, and many people push this topic to the side, saving it for later. The problem is, families often find that "later" gets pushed out farther and farther away, right up until there is a crisis. By that point, the initial memory or other thinking problems may be much worse, and the person unable to fully participate in the decision making process. This is a stressful situation for other family members, who are left with the anxiety of not knowing exactly what their loved one would have wanted when faced with the issue at hand. No one wants to put their family in this position. Fortunately, there is a way to prevent this.
An advance directive is a legal document that can be “activated” or put into effect in the event that you are unable to make your own healthcare decisions. A physician or psychologist must make this determination based on a thorough examination of you at the time your capacity (ability) to make decisions is in question. The document specifies:
How to Get Started
You can fill out an advance directive well in advance of needing one. It’s a good idea for every adult to fill one out, regardless of whether you think you will need it in the future. Because the legal requirements for the document can vary from state to state, it’s important to use your local resources to help you get started.
Once you’ve completed your advance directive form and had your signature witnessed, make time to do the following:
Have you completed your advance directives yet? Any tips for others who are considering this?
Send an email to invite people you know to join the Living with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) page.