Remaining politically neutral during General Election 2024


Under guidance from the Electoral Commission and Charity Commission, it's important that Scope remains politically neutral during General Elections.

While we understand that this period will see many passionate discussions and do not want to discourage open discussion, we cannot allow discussions which are purely intended to influence voting.

As ever, please make sure that your comments remain respectful of other people's opinions and keep to our online community house rules.
If we become concerned about you or anyone else while using one of our services, we will act in line with our safeguarding policy and procedures. This may involve sharing this information with relevant authorities to ensure we comply with our policies and legal obligations.

Is Alzheimer's Disease a Disability?

Options
Tori_Scope
Tori_Scope Scope Posts: 12,508 Disability Gamechanger
September is World Alzheimer’s Month, so I thought I’d write a little bit over the next 2 weeks about what Alzheimer's disease is, how we might be able to treat it, Alzheimer's disease as a disability, how we can care for people with Alzheimer's disease, and what hope there is for the future. You can read more about what Alzheimer's disease is on my last post.

The medical model of disability and the social model of disability

Alzheimer’s disease has traditionally been thought about in relation to the medical model of disability. 

The medical model of disability says that people are disabled by their impairments or differences. We at Scope believe that the medical model looks at what is 'wrong' with the person, not what the person needs. We believe it creates low expectations and leads to people losing independence, choice and control in their lives.

We therefore prefer to use the social model of disability, which says that people are disabled by barriers in society, not by their impairment or difference. You can read more about the social model of disability on our website.

How society can disable those with Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer Europe outline that, as Alzheimer's disease is recognised as a condition resulting in impairments, it can lead to disability, as the structures and attitudes of society can disable the individual.

The Mental Health Foundation have outlined a useful example below: 

Many people see dementia as the individuals’ problem. They might say “you have dementia, so that’s why you find it hard to understand the bus timetable”. Other people see that certain environment and the attitudes of others can also be a major barrier to people with dementia. They might say “the bus timetable is badly written and designed- it’s hard for everyone to read”.

two older women and an older man walking in the street together

Why it's useful to think about Alzheimer's disease in terms of the social model of disability

According to the Mental Health Foundation, thinking about Alzheimer’s disease as a disability through the lens of the social model of disability, rather than the medical model, might mean that:

  • We assume that people with dementia can speak for themselves, and we should make every effort to support them in this
  • People with dementia are treated as fully human and deserving of respect
  • We focus on what people can do rather than on what they can’t
  • People with dementia have a stronger sense of a right to their place in the world, rather than as grateful recipients of help
  • People with dementia develop a stronger voice in policy decisions

As Scope follows the social model of disability, I'd like to know what you think about viewing people living with Alzheimer's disease as being disabled by society, rather than by their impairment alone? 

Read next: What is Alzheimer's?How can we care for people with Alzheimer's?, and Is there hope for the future?

National Campaigns Officer at Scope, she/her

Comments

  • davegregson40
    davegregson40 Community member Posts: 83 Pioneering
    Options
    There has been a lot of work going on about this recently with good sources of information from the Alzheimers Society and a report by the Mental Health Foundation. From my personal experiences with a family member, following an assessment the disability was registered and entitlement to certain benefits as a result of the diagnosis and medical facts. 
  • newborn
    newborn Community member Posts: 832 Pioneering
    Options
    Yes of course. How could anyone yone argue with that?
  • Tori_Scope
    Tori_Scope Scope Posts: 12,508 Disability Gamechanger
    Options
    Thanks for the input @davegregson40! It's good that your family member was able to access some benefits.

    National Campaigns Officer at Scope, she/her

  • Tori_Scope
    Tori_Scope Scope Posts: 12,508 Disability Gamechanger
    Options
    I think it usually presents itself in terms of what the future focus should be @newborn. Those who prefer the medical model will want to focus a lot more on medical treatments, and possibly a cure, whereas those who support the social model will focus more on changing attitudes and societal structures. 

    I'm a social model supporter myself, so I'm not best placed to defend the other view!

    National Campaigns Officer at Scope, she/her

Complete our feedback form and tell us how we can make the community better.
If we become concerned about you or anyone else while using one of our services, we will act in line with our safeguarding policy and procedures. This may involve sharing this information with relevant authorities to ensure we comply with our policies and legal obligations.

Find out how to let us know if you're concerned about another member's safety.