Understanding and Respecting the Human Rights of People with Dementia

Understanding and Respecting the Human Rights of People with Dementia

Respecting the human rights of individuals with dementia is a fundamental aspect of person-centred care. These rights ensure everyone is treated with dignity, respect, and fairness. As a caregiver, you play a crucial role in upholding these rights in everyday interactions. Home Instead is here to help you understand the human rights principles related to dementia care and how to integrate them into your caregiving practices.

An Overview of Human Rights Principles Related to Dementia Care

Respect for Dignity and Autonomy:

Every person with dementia has the right to be treated with dignity and to make their own choices about their care and life.

Example: Encourage your family members to make decisions about their daily activities and respect their preferences.


People with dementia should not face discrimination based on their condition. They have the same rights as everyone else to participate fully in society.

Example: Advocate for your relative’s inclusion in community activities and ensure they have equal access to services and opportunities.

Full Participation and Inclusion:

Individuals with dementia have the right to participate in decisions affecting their lives and to be included in social, cultural, and community activities.

Example: Involve your family members in planning events, outings, and activities they enjoy.

Respect for Difference:

It is crucial to accept dementia as a part of human diversity. People with dementia should be valued for who they are.

Example: Celebrate your family member’s unique personality and life experiences.

Equality of Opportunity:

Ensure your loved one has equal opportunities to access care, services, and support tailored to their needs.

Example: Work with healthcare providers to develop personalized care plans considering your family member’s needs and preferences.


Services and environments should be accessible to people with dementia, enabling them to live independently and participate fully in society.

Example: Make modifications to the home environment to ensure it is safe and accessible for your family.

How Caregivers Can Ensure These Rights Are Upheld in Everyday Interactions

Empower Through Choice:

Always provide options and involve your family in decision-making. This fosters a sense of control and respect.

Example: Ask your relative which activities they would like to do, what they want to eat, or where to go for a walk.

Promote Independence:

Support your family member in performing tasks independently, offering assistance only when necessary. This helps maintain their dignity and self-worth.

Example: Encourage them to dress or prepare simple meals, stepping in only if they need help.

Advocate for Inclusion:

Ensure your family member is included in social and community activities. Advocate for their rights in healthcare settings and community services.

Example: Join support groups, attend community events, and speak up if your relative faces discrimination or exclusion.

Provide Compassionate Care:

Approach caregiving with empathy and understanding. Recognize that behaviours are often a form of communication.

Example: If your family member is agitated, understand the underlying cause rather than react negatively. Offer comfort and reassurance.

Respect Privacy:

Maintain your family member’s privacy and confidentiality. This is essential for preserving their dignity and trust.

Example: Ensure personal care tasks are conducted privately and handle sensitive information with care.

Foster Positive Relationships:

Build and maintain trust through consistent, respectful interactions. Show your family members that they are valued and loved.

Example: Spend quality time together, listen to their stories, and validate their feelings.

Educate and Advocate:

Stay informed about the rights of people with dementia and advocate for policies and practices that uphold these rights.

Example: Attend workshops, read up on dementia care best practices, and join advocacy groups focused on dementia rights.

How Home Instead Can Help

Home Instead is dedicated to upholding the human rights of people with dementia through compassionate and person-centred care. Our services include:

  • Personalized Care Plans: These plans are tailored to meet the unique needs and preferences of your family members, ensuring their rights and dignity are respected.
  • Professional Training: Our caregivers are trained in human rights principles and person-centred care techniques.
  • Advocacy and Support: We provide resources to help you advocate for your family member’s rights in healthcare and community settings.
  • Companionship Services: Offering respectful and empathetic companionship that fosters positive relationships and social inclusion.

By understanding and upholding the human rights of your family member with dementia, you can create a more respectful and supportive environment. Home Instead is here to support you every step of the way.

Works Cited

Alzheimer Society of Canada. Person-Centred Language Guidelines. Alzheimer Society of Canada, 2017.