Dementia is not a specific disease but an overall term that describes a wide range of symptoms and conditions. Dementia is associated with a decline in memory, thinking skills and the ability to communicate to the point that it affects an adult’s ability to perform daily tasks. There are many types of diagnosed dementia conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, Lewy body disease, frontotemporal dementia and others. Dementia can be diagnosed at several stages, as early, middle or late stage dementia. The diagnosis alone may not tell you whether an individual has the decision-making capacity to sign a Health Care Directive/Advance Directive and participate in health care planning. If you are unsure whether a person has the ability to make effective health care decisions, ask a doctor or clinician to make a medical determination.

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