Cathy Backs Dementia Rights Charter

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Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie, Convener of the Cross Party Group on Carers, helping to launch Scotland’s first ever Charter of Rights for people with dementia and their carers.

Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie, who chairs the Cross Party Group on carers at the Scottish Parliament, said that there are “more than 69,500 people living in Scotland who have been diagnosed with dementia, and this is projected to increase to 127,000 by 2031. People with dementia and their carers have the same human rights as every other citizen. However, it is widely recognised that, in addition to the impact of the illness, they face cultural, social and economic barriers to fulfilling these.

“This Charter aims to empower people with dementia, those who support them and the community as a whole to ensure their rights are recognised and respected. In recent years numerous reports have demonstrated that levels of care for people with dementia are simply not at a high enough standard. The publication of a Charter of Rights for people with dementia and their carers is long overdue.”

Cathy wants people to give their support to the Charter by “signing up” online at http://www.dementiarights.org/support-the-charter/

The Charter was developed by the Scottish Parliaments Cross Party Group on Alzheimer’s which brought together MSPs and external organisations, including Alzheimer Scotland, the Mental Welfare Commission, the Scottish Human Rights Commission, Crossreach and the Royal College of Psychiatrists. The final document is the culmination of over half a year’s work, including a series of roadshows throughout Scotland which brought together service users, medical professionals and care home staff.

Henry Simmons, Chief Executive of Alzheimer Scotland, said: “For too long the rights of people with dementia and their carers have been in the shadows. Although they have the same rights as everyone else in Scotland, people with dementia have become disadvantaged, disenfranchised and disowned. We call on as many people as possible to sign up in support of this Charter, which we want to act as both a charter mark for service providers and a key influence on the National Dementia Strategy that’s currently in development.”

Duncan Wilson, Head of Strategy and Legal at the Scottish Human Rights Commission, said: “This Charter brings some long overdue focus on empowering people with dementia to understand and claim their rights, and will help to increase the ability – and accountability – of those responsible for caring for vulnerable adults. The Commission welcomes the efforts of the Cross-Party Group to reflect international human rights standards in their work. Looking ahead, we hope that a wide range of public and private bodies will be encouraged to make human rights part of their day to day work with older people.”

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