Support for Employers to Address Dementia at Work
Learn about what dementia in the workplace means for your organization.
Some people living with dementia say they noticed their first symptoms of dementia while at work. But sometimes these changes in behaviour or performance can be incorrectly dismissed as stress, depression or typical signs of aging by an employer.
Given Canada’s aging workforce, it is more important than ever that employers recognize their responsibility to create dementia-inclusive workplaces — where employees experiencing cognitive changes are supported and the stigma that surrounds dementia is replaced by open communication.
Typical aging can also present workplace issues, but should not cause problems with completing tasks, following job procedures and requirements, learning and remembering new things, or maintaining healthy relationships.
Do you know the signs of dementia?
How can you begin productive, compassionate conversations related to dementia in the workplace?
What does it mean to become a dementia-inclusive employer?
DementiaAlberta.ca is a new online resource developed by the Alzheimer Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories to support employers to adapt to dementia in the workplace with hope, compassion and clarity.
If your employee receives a dementia diagnosis:
- Listen, show empathy and compassion and offer what you can as an employer.
- Plan together for what the employee wants to do moving forward, with advice from their medical team. Some may want or need to leave the workplace, and some will want to stay with accommodations.
- Give any necessary information on employment benefits. If benefits don’t apply to them or aren’t offered by your organization, direct them towards community resources such as financial and retirement planning or extended health programs.
- Model and encourage open and trust-based communication and build an inclusive and supportive work team.
- Create a written plan identifying strategies for success and any workplace accommodations, such as changes in work hours and tasks or equipment modifications.
- Finally, help your employee develop a plan for when the time comes to exit the workforce.
Steps to becoming a dementia-inclusive employer
- Understand that dementia is a progressive disease and that it affects everyone differently.
- Help your employees understand the signs of dementia and the experiences of a person living with or caring for a person living with dementia.
- Build a supportive work culture.
- Implement policies and accommodations to help people living with dementia or care partners thrive in the workplace.
A major part of helping employees living with dementia to thrive is to end stigma in the workplace. First, you need to understand what stigma is and its consequences:
- Stigma is negative attitudes or discrimination against a person or group based on their identity or characteristics, such as living with dementia.
- Stigma’s consequences for people impacted by dementia includes reluctancy to talk to a doctor, their employer or anyone else about their symptoms, and it makes the person more likely to delay treatment, have fewer supportive relationships, and have poor mental health and quality of life.
Explore DementiaAlberta.ca for more tips and resources to help employers take deliberate steps to ready their organizations as dementia-inclusive workplaces that support and include the many people across Canada living with or impacted by dementia.
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Explore the comprehensive resources at DementiaAlberta.ca
View communication tips to support productive and compassionate conversations in the workplace.
Learn about accommodations employers can provide to employees impacted by dementia.
Read the article Dementia in the Workplace for more about how this resource can support both employers and employees to navigate unique situations related to dementia in the workplace.
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