Later tonight in Edinburgh, Alzheimer Scotland will co-host a special Parliamentary Reception at the Scottish Parliament to celebrate 10 years since the launch of the ground-breaking Charter of Rights for people with Dementia and their Carers in Scotland.

Over the past decade Scotland has led the way globally in developing a human rights-based approach to inform and change policy and practice, and empower people living with dementia, their families and carers, to know and claim the human and other legal rights they share with ever other citizen.

Looking ahead to Charter of Rights 10 year celebration event, Alzheimer Scotland Chief Executive, Henry Simmons, says:

“The signing of the Charter of Rights in 2009 helped to dramatically shift our understanding of dementia away from a solely medical model to a person centred, rights-based understanding of citizens, who despite living with a challenging progressive condition retain their human rights to choice, power, control, autonomy and inclusion.

“The Charter did not and does not sit in isolation. It was driven forward by the voice of people living with dementia in Scotland, the Scottish Dementia Working Group, and it was used as force for change and progression. The creation of the National Dementia Carers Action Network later on also brought the voice of the lived experience of carers to the promotion and evolution of the Charter and its rights-based approach.

“Together with our partners we have used the Charter to shape policy and to deliver a transformation in the nature and focus of our health and social care practice in Scotland which is acknowledged globally for its person centred rights-based approach. It was and is perhaps one of the most important levers for policy transformation in the field of dementia practice to date.

“It is also central to how we continue to transform our health and social care system and protect the rights of people with dementia and their carers as we move forward in these difficult times of austerity. Celebrating the 10-year Anniversary of the Charter of Rights has been an opportunity to consider what we have achieved for people living with dementia, their families and their carers, and commit to what we must do now and in the years ahead as the number of people living with dementia is on the rise as well as an increasingly older population. Together we can be a leading force for change. Together we can make sure nobody faces dementia alone.”

The Charter of Rights is at the centre of the Scottish Government’s National Dementia Strategies and has provided the basis of the National Dementia Standards, the Promoting Excellence Framework, and every policy and progressive development that has evolved from each of the national strategies over the past decade. The Charter  restates the existing human and other legal rights that people with dementia, and those who care for them, share with every other citizen. It aims to ensure that they have the highest quality of care, support and treatment throughout the illness and in every setting.

Alzheimer Scotland will continue to work with the Alliance and Dementia Carers Voices to deliver the best outcomes for people living with dementia and their carers over the coming decades.