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Employers' guide to dementia

Dementia is not one thing – it includes symptoms such as memory loss, difficulties with thinking, problem solving and language. It can be caused by diseases such as Alzheimer’s or by a series of strokes.

There are many types of dementia, some of the more common are:
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Vascular dementia
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies
  • Fronto-temporal dementia
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
  • Korsakoff’s syndrome
  • HIV-related cognitive impairment
  • Mild cognitive impairment

How does dementia affect people?

Many people who develop dementia do so while still working. As people work longer more people with dementia will be at work. People with dementia might having difficulty following conversations, or may withdraw from colleagues. They might also forget to do, or how to do things, having difficulty with abstract thinking, have impaired judgement, and motor skills and balance might be affected.

Supporting staff who have dementia

With the correct support many people with dementia can continue to work effectively. You could:
  • encourage the individual to use memory aids
  • try to keep the same routine each day
  • spend time with the person with dementia if changes are necessary to make sure that they can prepare for them
  • assign a buddy or workplace mentor
  • allow flexible working
  • review their role and see if any adjustments could be made to help them continue
  • see if any of their colleagues would be interested in becoming Dementia Friends (external site).

Useful information about dementia

You might need to make some adjustments to help your employees. These could include specialist equipment like chairs and IT equipment. Grants are available through Access to Work (external site) to help to cover the cost of items that are identified as necessary to support employees who are disabled or have a health condition.
 

Take a look at our case studies to see how we have transformed the lives of disabled people