This article addresses the dilemmas concerning legislation, individual autonomy and the reality of everyday life for people coping with dementia. We describe and analyse decision-making in relation to older people with dementia in Sweden, within the area of social work regulated by the Social Services Act and the Parental Act. Swedish legislation is based on the individual’s autonomy and capacity to consent to services without anyone having legal authority to decide on behalf of the individual. Based on data from interviews with family caregivers living at home, decision-making through family caregivers is discussed and formal guardianship is also considered. Swedish legislation leaves individuals with dementia and family caregivers in a vacuum between self-determination and full autonomy with the ideal of citizenship emphasised and recognised in the Social Services Act on the one hand, and on the other, a strong need for support in everyday life and with decision-making.