A doctor who specializes in dementia has an idea for an advanced directive. It is designed to ensure that he does not continue working, when he is no longer able to do so, as effectively as he did when he was younger.
When we think about people who suffer from dementia, we think about people who have retired. We do not often think about the people who are still working but who have started suffering from cognitive decline. However, almost everybody has likely had an older colleague at some point, who seemed to slow down and make more mistakes in a professional setting.
This can be a problem for the older colleague, who might get embarrassed when corrected by younger people. It is also a potential problem for the younger people who might need to cover for their older colleague.
A doctor who specializes in dementia recently wrote about a possible solution to this problem in the Washington Post in an article titled “Reflections of a dementia specialist: I want to stop working before I embarrass myself.”
The idea is to create an occupational living will. This is a document that sets out certain signs requiring the affected doctor to take on fewer responsibilities and to eventually stop working completely. The document is tailored to his specific situation. However, other people can do the same thing for themselves. The document is then shared with trusted colleagues and loved ones, who can inform the doctor when it is time to retire.
This occupational living will does not have legal effect. However, it might still be a good idea for people in all professions who want to retire, before they tarnish their legacy by working past the time they are able.
Reference: Washington Post (April 15, 2018) “Reflections of a dementia specialist: I want to stop working before I embarrass myself.”