April 09, 2012
Dementia Ethical Issues Growing old and losing the ability to function independently is inevitable. Aging is a part of life. As adults grow old, they need increased assistance with daily living skills. The elderly may need assistance with finances, cooking, washing clothes, and cleaning. However, many Americans are not only aging but also acquiring dementia. In a recent study from the funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH), revealed that approximately 3.8 million people in the United States have some type of dementia National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (2001). Dementia affects the ability to cognitively function and can severely affects a person in the late stages. Dementia is medically categorized into stages. Each stage is intakes important decision making. As they regress and get older, they step into further stages of dementia which entails more decision making. The decision making process affects the patient and their families. It is always important to make ethical decisions that are well planned and are at the best interest for the patient. We will be evaluating, analyzing and applying four ethical principles in the decision making process for patients with dementia.
Dementia: What is Dementia? Is dementia part of aging? The elderly are known to forget where they placed their keys or parked their car. The Center for Alzheimer’s (2001) describes dementia to be “a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life”. It is normal for the elderly to forget where they placed their keys or forget where the placed their purse. However, a key difference between memory loss and dementia is the loss of long-term memory. Although short-term memory is affected during the aging process, normal aging does not affect long-term memory. Long-term memory stores information such as: phone