Canadians living with dementia are entitled to the same human rights as every other Canadian, as outlined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, stigma and discrimination are huge barriers for people with dementia and often contravene these rights.
That’s why the Alzheimer Society of Canada is pleased to officially launch the first-ever Canadian Charter of Rights for People with Dementia. The landmark Charter is the culmination of over a year’s work by the Society’s Advisory Group of people with dementia, whose members represent different walks of life from across the country.
The Charter defines seven explicit rights to empower Canadians living with dementia to self-advocate, while also ensuring that the people and organizations that support them know and protect their rights.
The charter states:
As a person with dementia, the following rights are especially important to me.
I have the right:
- To be free from discrimination of any kind.
- To benefit from all of Canada’s civic and legal rights.
- To participate in developing and implementing policies that affect my life.
- To access support so that I can live as independently as possible and be as engaged as possible in my community. This helps me:
Meet my physical, cognitive, social and spiritual needs,
Get involved in community and civic opportunities, and
Access opportunities for lifelong learning.
- To get the information and support I need to participate as fully as possible in decisions that affect me, including care decisions from the point of diagnosis to palliative and end-of-life care
- To expect that professionals involved in my care are:
Trained in both dementia and human rights.
Held accountable for protecting my human rights including my right to get the support and information I need to make decisions that are right for me.
Treating me with respect and dignity.
Offering me equal access to appropriate treatment options as I develop health conditions other than my dementia.
- To access effective complaint and appeal procedures when my rights are not protected or respected.