Dementia carers must be heard

People who care for those with dementia need to have a voice
People who care for those with dementia need to have a voice

Dementia Carer Voices provides a platform where the voices of carers of people with dementia can be heard.

The project is managed by the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland – the Alliance – and can also be used to influence practice and policy.

As part of the project’s Carers’ Rights Day celebrations last month we shared and celebrated the 11,000 pledges made by people across the country who have pledged to make a difference to the lives of people with dementia and their carers.

Dementia Carer Voices has embarked on a campaign entitled You Can Make a Difference over the last two years, and has gathered pledges from Health and Social Care Professionals and students over the course of 500 talks, where Project Engagement Lead Tommy Whitelaw has engaged with 60,000 people.

You Can Make a Difference offers carers of people with dementia a chance to have their stories told, and encourages participants to reflect on what they have learned and pledge how they can make a difference to the lives of people with dementia and their carers.

The project has also collected multimedia case studies, asking people with dementia, carers, and staff what matters to them, ultimately promoting a person centered approach to care.

As part of the project’s awareness raising activities, we also aim to empower people through the Charter of Rights for People with Dementia and their Carers which was launched on 8th October 2009.

It had the backing of both Scottish Government and the Cross Party Group on Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

The Cross Party Group argued a charter was necessary to tackle the stigma and discrimination people with dementia faced, and the exclusion of carers as decision makers in care.

Using a simple approach, the Charter sets out the rights of people with dementia and those who support them to ensure that they, and the wider community understand their rights and that they are respected.

With the Carers (Scotland) Act agreed this year in Parliament, the theme of this year’s Carers Rights Day was extremely pertinent.

Dementia Carer Voices champions a rights based approach to health and social care, and is pleased to share the commitment of people across the country to making a difference to people with dementia and carers.

Advancing the rights of people with dementia, and their carers who sometimes face extraordinary challenges and barriers in communicating their needs and wishes, is a just cause. The simple message is that dementia is everyone’s business.

Visit www.alliance-scotland.org.uk for more.