Dementia and End of Life Decision-Making

Making care decisions for a person with dementia near the end of life can be hard for caregivers. Because people with advanced dementia can no longer communicate clearly, they cannot share their wishes and concerns. You may have to make treatment decisions based on the person’s comfort at one end of the spectrum and extending life or maintaining abilities for a little longer at the other.

You may want to ask the health care team:

  • How will the approach the doctor is suggesting affect the person’s quality of life? Will it make a difference in comfort and well-being?
  • If considering home hospice for the person with dementia, what will be needed to care for him or her? Does the facility have special experience with people with dementia?
  • What can I expect as the disease gets worse?

Learn more about dementia at the end of life.

Author: Raj C. Shah, MD

I am geriatrician and an Associate Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center.

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