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

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.”

Where next?