News Release

UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities - Dementia an invisible disability

London, 2 December 2015

ADI and Dementia Alliance International (DAI) have joined forces on the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities to call for a global recognition of dementia as an invisible disability.

Since 1992, the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities (3 December) aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of people with disabilities. This year, the campaign has a focus on including people with invisible disabilities in society and development, as well as making cities inclusive and accessible for all.

Accordingly, ADI and DAI are urging people around the world to engage with Dementia Friendly Communities (DFC), as a way to support people living with dementia. Many high income countries have already established highly successful DFC programmes. In light of dementia shifting prevalence to low and middle income countries, ADI are also urging policy makers in these regions to integrate DFCs into their commitments for action on dementia.

Underpinning the campaign is the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the first Convention to have been written in full and equal partnership with people living with disabilities. In March this year, at the opening address of the World Health Organization’s Ministerial Conference on Global Action Against Dementia, Dementia Alliance International asserted that the CRPD must include people living with dementia.

Kate Swaffer, Co-chair of DAI, commented: “People with dementia around the world are looking to ADI and national Alzheimer associations to ensure that the rights embodied in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities include people with dementia. Only then can people with dementia be accorded the same rights as others living with disabilities, and the respect to make decisions about their own lives to the extent they are able.”

Glenn Rees, Chair of ADI, added: “The concept of Dementia Friendly Communities has captured the imagination of many people around the world. This marks a fundamental shift from an exclusive focus on meeting the physical and medical requirements of the person with dementia, to a holistic approach which supports the person with dementia to achieve the best quality of life each and every day.”


Notes to Editors

About Alzheimer’s Disease International

ADI is the international federation of 83 Alzheimer associations around the world, in official relations with the World Health Organization. ADI's vision is an improved quality of life for people with dementia and their families throughout the world. ADI believes that the key to winning the fight against dementia lies in a unique combination of global solutions and local knowledge. As such, it works locally, by empowering Alzheimer associations to promote and offer care and support for people with dementia and their carers, while working globally to focus attention on dementia and campaign for policy change from governments. For more information, visit

About Dementia Alliance International

Dementia Alliance International (DAI) is a collaboration of like-minded individuals diagnosed with dementia providing a unified voice of strength, advocacy, and support in the fight for individual autonomy for people with dementia. DAI was established in January 2014 to promote education and awareness about dementia – in order to eradicate stigma and discrimination – and to improve the quality of the lives of people with dementia.

The aim is to bring the community composed of those with dementia together as one strong voice to urge the government, private sector, and medical professionals to listen to our concerns and take action to address this urgent global crisis. It is our firm belief that working together, we will identify concrete action for implementation with the international community, and in the process, ensure our human rights are being fully met. For more information, visit