Everybody’s business: guides to support people with dementia in the workplace

Lead investigator: Dr Louise Ritchie
Institution: University of the West of Scotland
Grant type: Dissemination
Duration: 12 months
Amount: £2,500

Scientific title: Everybody’s business: co-creating guides to support individuals with dementia in the workplace.

What do we already know?

More people are being diagnosed with dementia while still in employment. As people are diagnosed with dementia earlier, and with the scrapping of the compulsory retirement age, more organisations will need to adapt to support workers living with the condition. However, few employers have the knowledge or plans in place to help people with dementia to work as long as they want to, leading to many people with dementia leaving work before they are ready. 

Alzheimer’s Society previously funded a project called ‘Dementia in the Workplace: the potential for continued employment post diagnosis’. This project highlighted the need for appropriate support for people with dementia in employment. The project found that providing support to a person with dementia to continue employment is complex and can involve input from a range of individuals and organisations. The study identified six groups of people and organisations who may be involved with supporting a person with dementia in the workplace. These are:
•    The person with dementia
•    Family members
•    Employers
•    Colleagues who work closely with the person with dementia
•    Health professionals
•    Employment support specialists

What does this project involve?

Based on the findings of the ‘Dementia in the Workplace’ report, the researchers will develop six short guides on dementia in the workplace for each group described. This will be done by inviting representatives from each group to two workshops, which will share the findings of the study and invite feedback and comments on the development of the guides. 

When the guides are completed they will be made available to download through the project website and as hard copies. The researchers will raise awareness of the guides by distributing information at events and through the local networks of people who take part in the workshops.

How will this benefit people with dementia?

Continuing employment activities can be beneficial to a person following a diagnosis of dementia, however support systems for continuing employment are lacking with many employers having little to no strategies in place for supporting people with dementia in the workplace. As well as providing information to people with dementia wishing to continue working, these guides will aim to raise awareness of dementia in the workplace, and ensure that conversations around continuing employment challenge the assumption that people with dementia cannot retain employment after diagnosis.