Quality of Life in Dementia
Responding to dementia is a public health priority of the World Health Organization, as the number of people living with dementia is expected to triple by mid-century. Although dementia is a highly disabling neurocognitive disorder, and many people with dementia rely on surrogates’ involvement in decision making as the disease progresses, evidence also suggests that many dementia patients can reliably articulate their values, preferences, and desires. As a result, clinicians have obligations to ensure that people with dementia can maintain active, central roles in making decisions about their care and well-being. This issue of the AMA Journal of Ethics considers strategies for humanizing and supporting people with dementia so that they can continue to live lives consistent with their needs and preferences, even as the disease progresses.