This article reviews the development of a social model of disability and considers whether or not it provides a helpful framework for dementia care. The social model has not yet fully included cognitive impairment, although considerable work has been carried out with regard to learning disability. By applying this model to dementia care, those who surround people with dementia can review the impact that they as 'non-demented' people have on others; can reconsider the value of hearing and responding to personal experiences; can reframe the focus to consider abilities instead of losses; and can better understand the impact of public policy. The article also considers the present shortcomings of a disability model in terms of how it relates to dementia care and concludes with some thoughts for future consideration. The article draws heavily on the findings of a research project conducted by Dementia Voice and the University of the West of England, Bristol, UK to consider the needs of two sub-groups of people with dementia – younger people (i.e. those under the age of 65) and those from minority ethnic groups.