The “Dementia Rights” project
In August 2015, the Mental Health Foundation published its long awaited report on dementia, rights and the social model of disability. In April 2016, the Alzheimer’s Disease International accepted unanimously a proposal from the Dementia Alliance International to prioritise rights based approaches in their policy on dementia.
The “Dementia Rights” project aims to embed through word of mouth and social action a rights based consciousness towards rights. International statutory instruments and their interpretation are important in their own right, but it is critical that rights are understood by people with dementia. Without this basic awareness, it is impossible for people with dementia to use their rights locally in society.
The aim of this project was to design an initiative building on the known success of ‘Dementia Friends’, launched in 2012 by the Alzheimer’s Society and Public Health England. Whilst this programme has been successful thus far in turning communication into action over basic awareness of dementia, to overcome stigma, prejudice and social isolation, the programme has its limitations. It is not intended principally for people themselves living with dementia. A programme called ‘Dementia Friends’ cannot be aimed mainly at people living with dementia. Furthermore, “Dementia Friends” does not refer to rights.
The rights are pivotal, however, not only internationally but in domestic jurisdictions. The “Dementia Rights” initiative is written in such a way as to cover the main principles of rights, touching on the social model of disability, but is not dependent on any particular domestic statutory instruments, which are in a state of continual renewal.
The information session is designed to take place between 45 and 60 minutes, to be given by a “Dementia Rights Champion” who is neither an expert in dementia nor in public law. It contains two interactive tasks designed to generate discussion.
I hope you get a chance to explore “Dementia Rights”, to be launched officially in Dementia Awareness Week #DAW2016 by the first Dementia Rights Champions.
The Dementia Society