This paper aims at developing some philosophical observations on dementia, with reference to the concepts of person and personal identity. Should the previously healthy person and the patient suffering from dementia be regarded as two different people? Is this patient actually a person in the strict sense? After presenting some contemporary answers to such questions, we intend to discuss the position according to which superior qualities such as rationality, self-consciousness and freedom make someone a person; this signifies that the demented patient cannot be said to be a person anymore. As the last paragraph intends to show, bringing into question this theoretical paradigm and extending the list of personal qualities not only has ontological and ethical implications, but also represents the theoretical basis for a practical revolution in dementia care.
Keywords: Dementia, person, personal identity, self-consciousness, rationality, freedom