This article discusses under what circumstances patients who are suffering from senile dementia or mental retardation should be submitted to coercive care, who should decide about this kind of coercion, and in what legal framework it should take place. A distinction is drawn between modest (i.e. of moderate degree) and meddlesome coercion. The use of modest coercion is defended. It is argued that medical personnel ought to decide exclusively about the use of modest coercion. However, no law should render legitimate the use of even modest coercion. It is conceded that to prohibit the use of a kind of coercion that is expected to take place is hypocrisy. It is argued that this is, however, an acceptable form of hypocrisy.