New films highlight the ability of people with dementia to influence services and policies

Release Date: 24 October 2012

Source: Mental Health Foundation

Country: United Kingdom

The Mental Health Foundation today launches two films showing people with a dementia diagnosis who are involved in activities and groups aimed at influencing the attitudes, services and policies that affect their lives.

The films, launching alongside a report, come at the end of the first year of the Dementia Engagement & Empowerment Project (DEEP).The project aims to support the collective voice of people with dementia and to begin developing a UK-wide network of initiatives and groups of people with dementia. These groups are already involved in campaigning, media work, training and advising on policies and the DEEP project aims to support and promote this work by empowering people with dementia to share their experiences, ideas and resources, and support one another.

DEEP has been led by the Mental Health Foundation, with support from Innovations in Dementia (who will be leading the next phase) and the Alzheimer’s Society, and is funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. It investigates the ways that people with dementia are currently engaged with groups and activities that influence attitudes, policy and services and will explore how they would like these initiatives to operate in the future.

The project mapped out and brought together the existing dementia activities, groups and projects across the nation that are predominantly led by, or that actively involve people with dementia, and endeavours to actively influence the services and policies that affect them.

Toby Williamson, Head of Development and Later Life says:

“All the organisations involved have been both excited and inspired by what different groups have been doing – with a national spotlight on dementia, increased rates of early diagnosis, and more people being vocal and assertive about what they want, it has felt like DEEP has had a privileged view of a new and important part of the ‘disability rights movement’ emerging.
Other disability groups have been doing this kind of work for decades but people with dementia are catching up quickly. Of course there are lots of challenges, like how to provide opportunities for people with more severe dementia or people with dementia from other ‘seldom heard’ groups to have a say, but this is something that DEEP will begin addressing.
People with dementia might not be building the barricades quite yet but they are certainly becoming more organised at challenging obstacles put in their path that prevent them from getting the services they need and participating in society as equal citizens. We hope that the films encourage many more people with dementia to get involved and take more control over their lives

Download DEEP report, its appendix and watch the films