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Canterbury man presents paper on living with dementia to United Nations Committee on Human Rights

PUBLISHED: 15:59 29 August 2017 | UPDATED: 15:59 29 August 2017

Keith and Rosemary Oliver

Keith and Rosemary Oliver

Archant

Keith Oliver was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s aged 55 and is working to raise awareness and dispel myths

A former head teacher from Canterbury has attended the United Nations (UN) Committee on Human Rights to present a paper on living with dementia.

Keith Oliver, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of 55, and is now one of Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust’s (KMPT) dementia envoys, has worked tirelessly since to raise awareness and dispel some of the myths around the disease.

He has done much to help others and is a regular speaker at local, national and international conferences.

This most recent, prestigious invite came about after Mr Oliver was selected by the Dementia Engagement Empowerment Project (DEEP) to be one of only eight people living with dementia to work as a ‘think tank’ with the aim of producing a comprehensive piece of work that explored dementia, human rights and disability.

He said: “In the disability movement dementia and mental health are relatively recent inclusions and work around dementia in association with disability is in its very early stages.

“There is far more support for people living with other disabilities and we felt like ‘positive gate crashers at the UN Committee’.

“However, it was good to be added to the agenda and included in the mix. It was an excellent opportunity to help make the case for more provision for people disabled with dementia.”

Some of the issues that the dementia paper addressed included stereotypes and prejudices, accessible transport, independent living and community inclusion, accessible care and work.

Mr Oliver’s contribution to the paper was to write the Forward, write about his own experiences and encourage other people who are members of The SUNshiners - a group of people living with dementia in Dover, Deal and Shepway - and Forget Me Nots - a group of people living with dementia in Canterbury - to contribute.

The Forget Me Nots’ dementia friendly audit of the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury also formed part of the evidence for more community inclusion.

The paper will form part of the UN Committee’s assessment of the UK government on its provision for people with disabilities.

KMPT specialises in caring for people across the county with a wide range of mental health needs including substance misuse, forensic and other specialist services.

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