Acas uses cookies to ensure we give you the best experience and to make the site simpler. Find out more about cookies.

Website URL : http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx/images/acas/helplineonline/media/pdf/4/s/media/word/h/i/index.aspx?articleid=5429

Dealing with dementia in the workplace

More than 40,000 people under the age of 65 have been diagnosed with dementia in the UK - and 18 per cent of them continue to work after a diagnosis.

As the number of people with dementia is forecast to increase (to over 1 million by 2025 and 2 million by 2051), and with a greater number of people expected to work later in life, it's an issue that's bound to become increasingly significant in the workplace.

In fact, a recent survey found that almost nine out of ten employers recognised that dementia was a growing issue for their organisation.

New guide on handling dementia at work

The publication of a new guide Leading the fight against dementia [PDF, 215kb] from Alzheimer's Society is timely, therefore, giving practical advice about how to spot the signs and symptoms of the illness, create a dementia-friendly working environment and to support people with dementia in the workplace.

It sets out how making steps to support people with dementia - giving them choice and control of their lives, and allowing them to continue to contribute their skills and experience to the organisation - can not only make a difference to affected staff, but bring benefits to the whole organisation.

The business case includes improving staff retention (early retirement of those with dementia costs businesses £627 million a year in England alone), and providing a more inclusive service - which itself, evidence suggests, can enhance productivity and performance.

Legal duties

There's also the question of legal compliance. People with a disability are protected under the Equality Act 2010, and generally this will include people living with dementia.

This means that employers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for staff with dementia so that they are not disadvantaged at work.

Adjustments could include clear signage and labelling, creating quiet spaces, and installing soundproofing or putting up visual barriers to minimise distractions. They might also entail a review of current job specification, reallocation of duties, a change of working hours, or redeployment to another role.

At some point it may no longer be possible for employers to make adjustments to keep a person at work - or the individual may be ready to leave by choice. The guide recommends employers avoid using capability and disciplinary procedures, but follow instead a 'dignified exit package and strategy'.

This could be a difficult time; honesty about options over a long period of time will ease some of the difficulty, it said.

Acas publications and services

Acas has published the pdf icon Promoting positive mental health in the workplace [284kb], which aims to help employers tackle the stigma around mental health, create a supportive environment and take practical steps to address to issues surrounding mental ill health in the workplace.

Acas experts can visit your organisation and help you with Equality and diversity issues, legal compliance and raising staff awareness about discrimination. Call the Acas customer services steam on 0300 123 1150 for more details.

Practical training is also available on Health, work and wellbeing issues, Disability discrimination, Equality, diversity and the Equality Act 2010, Staff retention, Absence management, Having difficult conversations and essential Skills for supervisors.

For free, impartial advice and guidance visit Acas Helpline Online.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects area for more information.


This news content or feature has been generated by a third party. Commentary, opinion and content do not necessarily represent the opinion of Acas.
We recommend that you explore further information and advice available on this website, particularly within our Advice A-Z guidance pages. If you have questions about workplace rights and rules visit Helpline Online.
This news content or feature may be reproduced free of charge in any format or medium for research, private study or for internal circulation within an organisation, subject to accurate reproduction.
Your details: news and notifications