Rights in mind: Thinking differently about dementia and disability

Tom Shakespeare, Hannah Zeilig, Peter Mittler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


The aim of this paper is to argue for the utility of a relational model of disability, as a way of conceptualizing dementia. We explore whether dementia should be considered as a disability, and whether people with dementia might consider themselves as disabled people. We review examples of, and issues raised by, the political activism of people with dementia. We consider how language constructs dementia negatively. We discuss how the environment influences the experience of dementia. In conclusion, we show that a relational model of dementia lays the basis for a human rights approach to the condition, based on collaborative partnerships between people with dementia and people from other disability communities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1075-1088
Number of pages14
Issue number3
Early online date7 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • Human rights
  • models of disability
  • environmental barriers
  • activism

Cite this