A couple of years ago, I discovered and widely shared the Best Friends (TM) Dementia Bill of Rights, which was created by Virginia Bell and David Troxel in the 1990s. Today seemed like a good day to re-share the Bill, which has been translated into 21 languages. I passionately believe in all 12 of the tenets because I have experienced first hand the difference adhering to them (or not!) can make in the life of someone who lives with dementia.
The bill says every person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias deserves:
- To be informed of one’s diagnosis.
- To have appropriate, ongoing medical care.
- To be treated as an adult, listened to, and afforded respect for one’s feelings & point of view.
- To be with individuals who know one’s life story, including cultural and spiritual traditions.
- To experience meaningful engagement throughout the day.
- To live in a safe and stimulating environment.
- To be outdoors on a regular basis.
- To be free from psychotropic medications whenever possible.
- To have welcomed physical contact, including hugging, caressing, and handholding.
- To be an advocate for oneself and others.
- To be part of a local, global, or online community.
- To have care partners well trained in dementia care.
I haven’t had the chance to fully explore their website, but my initial reaction based on the Bill of Rights and a quick scan is the Best Friends approach is caring and person-centred.
One thing for sure, all people who live with dementia deserve to be treated with compassion and dignity and the twelve tenets above are a great place to start.
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