Many people who complained about the offensive article “Dementia Troublemakers” published in the Australian Financial Review (AFR) (@FinancialReview) have received a standard reply from the Australian Financial Review i the last 24 hours, of which I am also a recipient. See their response below added as a screen shot from the DAI gmail account, and afterwards, my reply.
Thank you for your letter, which, it seems, is a standard reply you have sent to everyone who has complained, as I have received about 10 copies of it from others already! Hardly personal, or professional.
May I first refer you to the Alzheimer’s Australia dementia language guidelines. It is extremely offensive, and very outdated, to refer to people with dementia as sufferers. In fact, it is as disrespectful as calling us retards. So, for future stories about dementia, or communications about matters such as this, I would kindly ask you to refer to them. They can be found on the Alzheimer’s Australia website.
If, as you say, Mr Jay is a very senior correspondent, then I feel, it is even less excusable that he has referred to PEOPLE as feral, as mad and bad, or as trouble makers. There is NO sub class of patient who is any of these things.
If you or he knew anything about dementia, you would know this is inaccurate.
It has also put advocacy efforts back almost twenty years, and you and Mr Jay remain ignorant of respect for human beings, if you continue to insist this article is appropriate.
I’m sure you are aware of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to which Australia is a signatory – http://www.un.org/disabilities/convention/conventionfull.shtml
Note the following sub-clauses:
Clause e. Recognising that disability is an evolving concept and that disability results from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinders their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.
Clause h. Recognising also that discrimination against any person on the basis of disability is a violation of the inherent dignity and worth of the human person.
Clause j. Recognising the need to promote and protect the human rights of all persons with disabilities, including those who require more intensive support.
I would hope that, on these three clauses alone, you can see I am justified in further raising a complaint to the AFR.
The article may have meant well, but it remains that it is highly disrespectful and offensive to people with dementia. It is ageist, defamatory, and requires a public apology.
(phone number included)
Chair, Dementia Alliance International
Chair, Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Advisory Group
Co-chair, Alzheimer’s Australia Consumer’s Dementia Research Network