Dementia in the workplace
Businesses and organisations can make a big difference to people with dementia, and their carers, by making a commitment to become more dementia-friendly. Becoming a dementia-friendly business is a socially responsible step. It can also bring economic benefits too.
What is dementia?
The Alzheimer’s Society describes dementia as ‘a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language’. These changes are often small to start with, but for someone with dementia they have become severe enough to affect daily life. A person with dementia may also experience changes in their mood or behaviour.
Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or a series of strokes. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, but not the only one. The specific symptoms that someone with dementia experiences will depend on the parts of the brain that are damaged and the disease that is causing the dementia.
Dementia in the workplace statistics
- Over 850,000 people in the UK are living with dementia. Of these over 40,000 are aged under 65.
- By 2025, the number of people living with dementia is expected to increase to over 1 million. By 2051, this figure is expected to increase to 2 million. This increase, coupled with the UK statutory retirement age rising, means we will expect to see many people developing dementia whilst still in employment.
- The cost of dementia to the UK is £26 billion a year (based on 2013 cost data).
- The Centre for Economics and Business estimates that the average person diagnosed with dementia while still at work, will have been in their current job for at least nine years. The early retirement of those diagnosed with dementia costs English businesses £627 million a year.
Statistics taken from ‘Dementia-friendly business guide', Alzheimer’s Society, 2017.
Can dementia be prevented?
There is evidence that a healthy lifestyle can help reduce the risk of dementia, especially in mid-life. Regular physical exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and drinking alcohol only in moderation, if at all, are linked to a reduced risk of dementia.
Keeping mentally and socially active into later life may also help to lower a person’s risk of dementia. Being mentally active could include doing puzzles, reading, or learning a new skill. Being socially active could include visiting friends and family, or volunteering.
Why not encourage your employees to adopt a healthier lifestyle? Take a look at the physical activity in the workplace page for ideas on how to support your employees to improve their physical activity levels. View the mental health and wellbeing in the workplace page for tips and advice on helping employees to improve their mental wellbeing.
Resources to help create and support dementia-friendly workplaces
Here are some guides, websites, campaigns and resources to help you to create and support dementia-friendly workplaces.
Toolkits and guides:
The Alzheimer’s Society has a range of useful guides and resources to support businesses and organisations to become dementia-friendly. These include:
A guide to how you can make your business as dementia-friendly as possible.
Specific guides are available for a range of sectors, including retail, financial services, arts, housing and utilities. The guidance includes case studies and simple steps you can take to become more dementia-friendly.
This guide produced by Carers UK and Employers for Carers sets out key findings and emerging issues from a survey of employers and employees. It makes ten recommendations for employers, health and social care services and government to facilitate better support for carers.
This is a form produced by the Department for Work and Pensions. It can be used by people who have a disability or health condition that makes it harder for them to move into work or stay in a job.
It can help people:
- Identify what support and changes (known as reasonable adjustments) they may need when in work or moving into work.
- Apply for support from 'Access to Work'. This could include funding for specialist equipment and support getting to and from work.
- Talk to employers about adjustments and in work support they may need.
Campaigns, websites and apps:
Why not get your workplace involved in the Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Action Week, which is taking place on the 15 – 21 May 2023. Order a Workplace Dementia Action Week Kit to raise awareness of dementia amongst your employees.
The Staffordshire Together for Carers Service provide information, advice and a wide range of specialist support services designed to help adult and young carers to continue in their caring role. The support also helps to reduce the impact the caring role can have on the carers own health and wellbeing.
As just under 90,000 people in Staffordshire provide unpaid care (Census data, 2011), then it’s likely that your business has carers as employees. Make sure they receive the advice and support they need by signposting them to this useful website.
Staffordshire Connects is our easy to use directory. It provides details about hundreds of different care, support and wellbeing organisations, local activities, clubs and community groups taking place across Staffordshire.
You can find a range of local dementia support services within the 'Adults and Communities' section, under 'Health and Wellness'.
There are an increasing number of health and wellbeing apps available. We are making it easier for you and your employees to find apps that can help you to stay healthy and well with our Health and Wellbeing App Finder Tool. This includes the top rated apps for dementia.
Across Staffordshire there are already over 200 places and organisations that are working to be dementia-friendly in association with the Dementia Action Alliance. This includes Staffordshire County Council. Why not show your support by becoming a member of the Alliance?
Get in touch
Let us know what you’re doing in your workplace around dementia by emailing WorkplaceHealth@staffordshire.gov.uk.