This week Alzheimer Scotland published its response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the fourth National Dementia Strategy. Today is the perfect opportunity to shine a light on this. At the core of this is people living with dementia and their carers fighting for their rights as fellow human beings to be treated equally, with dignity and respect.
All too often we hear family carers and people with dementia describe their situation with the quality of care and support they are receiving falling short of what should be expected. This is followed by “I don’t want to rock the boat. I understand how difficult it is for people working in health/social care just now…” This empathy with the workforce is incredibly understanding, however we need to keep having conversations that centre around the importance of our fundamental human rights and places firmly the accountability on our government to ensure that all our human rights are protected, respected, and fulfilled, as is their duty.
Through our process of public engagement, we heard first hand the progress that has been made by having 3 previous National Dementia Strategies. These strategies have detailed the commitments made by the Scottish Government to ensure that they continue to prioritise and address the inequalities that people with dementia and their carers experiences and ensure that we are striving towards improving the quality of life for people living with dementia from the point of diagnosis right through to end of life. Although we have made progress since the inception of our first strategy back in 2010, we still have a long way to go.
We need to move from a place of writing world leading dementia policy to fully implementing this so that people living with dementia and their carers can experience a decent standard of living that promotes the enjoyment and fulfilment of all their human rights.
The conversation on human rights today can feel quite polarised, and political. It can feel uncomfortable to use the language of rights when the topic has become so contentious. However, it is incredibly important that we recognise the lack of support and services available to people living with dementia and their carers IS a human rights issue. People living with dementia having to move into long term care prematurely, due to a lack of support at home IS a human rights issue. People with advanced dementia not having access to free health care at the point of delivery IS a human rights issue. People with dementia and their carers voices not being heard by the state and those in power IS a human rights issue. I could go on, but for now I will just ask that if this resonates with you, please read our response to the Scottish Government and support Alzheimer Scotland in our mission to ensure that nobody faces dementia alone.
Jenn Hall, Head of National Support Services