Alister Robertson, Board Member of Alzheimers NZ and of the Alzheimers NZ Advisory Group, says:
The Dementia Declaration is the result of people like me who are affected by dementia in New Zealand getting together and identifying what we need to live well.
The Declaration has been developed by Alzheimers NZ’s Advisory Group, of which I am a member. It was launched earlier this year and we are encouraging people to ‘adopt’ the Declaration and pledge their support online through ActionStation.
We are hoping our Declaration will become a benchmark against which governments, organisations and individuals can measure themselves when they interact with and make policy for people just like me.
We have the same rights, needs and desires as everyone else, but are ignored far too often. We have been marginalised and stigmatised, both by society and by the health sector, so we hope the Declaration will help to change things for the better. Our Declaration – because it is for all New Zealanders with dementia – is our way of educating society about what we need.
The Declaration is our plea to be treated with respect, kindness, understanding and acceptance, for a more dementia friendly New Zealand. We want the Declaration to be a vehicle for change and to make our voices heard. These voices will help to shape how society responds to our needs, what services and support we want and how we’d still like to have some choices in our lives.
It is my hope that the Declaration will lead to positive and progressive change in the way people living with dementia are treated, by both society and the government, and health policy makers in particular. The next step is to turn the voices of people with dementia into the actions we truly want to see.