chapter  20
21 Pages

Ethical issues in the care of the demented elderly

The care of people suffering from a dementing process inevitably involves dilemmas concerning fundamental human rights as well as human responsibilities. A central point of discussion is the concept of autonomy, understandably so as dementia affects people's ability to organize their lives according to their own will, insights and beliefs. The decline of organizing skills, however, should not be confused with loss of self-awareness or the need to respond to one's own situation and to give meaning to one"s own existence. Expressions of anxiety, agitation or disorientation are often linked with feelings of responsibility.