If, in the future you suffer a disability such as a stroke or dementia this can prevent you from making decisions about your health care, where you will live in the future and other lifestyle choices.
Many people prepare for the possibility that one day they may not be capable of decision making, and will need one or more persons they trust to make health and lifestyle decisions for them. This is done by appointing an enduring guardian(s) of their choice, while they still have the mental capacity to do so. Anyone over the age of 18 with legal capacity is able to appoint an enduring guardian.
The appointment will only come into effect when the person who made the appointment is unable to make decisions for themself as result of incapacity. The opinion of a medical professional about whether you have actually lost legal capacity may be needed before the appointment can take effect.
You can choose which decisions you want your enduring guardian to make, these are called ‘functions’. You can give your guardian as many or as few functions as you like and directions about how they should carry out their functions.
Examples of the functions of enduring guardians include:
- Decide where you should live and who you live with
- Decide what health care and medical treatments you receive
- Give consent to medical and dental treatment for you
- Make general lifestyle decisions for you
Making an appointment of an enduring guardian is the best way to ensure that somebody you trust will have the important job of making these decisions on your behalf.