The Best Friends™ Dementia Bill of Rights

When Virginia Bell and David Troxel created the Alzheimer’s Bill of Rights in the 1990s, they wanted to reframe the discussion around caring for people with dementia.

Ask staff to sign the Best Friends™ Dementia Bill of Rights. Seeing your signature every time you pass by really builds buy-in.

Stigma was common. Inform people with dementia of their diagnosis, treat them like adults, and enjoy meaningful activities? Controversial ideas at the time. Translated into 21 languages, the Alzheimer’s Bill of Rights helped articulate a new model of caregiving.

Ask staff to sign the Best Friends™ Dementia Bill of Rights. Seeing your signature every time you pass by really builds buy-in.[/caption]Today’s Best Friends™ Dementia Bill of Rights keeps many of the original “rights” and adds new planks suggested by people with dementia, who told Virginia and David in great detail how they wanted to be treated! All of Virginia and David’s work—and the Best Friends™ Approach to Dementia Care—is based on this Bill of Rights.

The Best Friends™ Dementia Bill of Rights

Every person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia 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 and 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.

Download a PDF of the Best Friends™ Dementia Bill of Rights here:

Source: The Best Friends™ Dementia Bill of Rights by Virginia Bell and David Troxel. © Copyright 2013, Health Professions Press, Inc.