Helping Dementia Patients Avoid Premature Death

Helping Dementia Patients Avoid Premature Death – OpEd SD UT
March 5, 2015
By Stanley A. Terman, PhD, MD
U-T San Diego Op-Ed

How long do I have?” is question No. 1 after receiving a terminal diagnosis. If diagnosed with dementia, often the next is, “How can I avoid prolonged dying in advanced dementia?”

The movie “Still Alice” featured Julianne Moore in an Academy Award-winning performance portraying losses of memory, family, profession, independence, perhaps dignity and losing control over one’s destiny.

Some early stage dementia patients actively commit suicide; others passively hasten their dying. Premature dying is sad since living can be reasonably good through middle-stage dementia.