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Employers urged to support staff living with dementia

Workers with caring responsibilities also need support, says adviser

Employers should support staff living with dementia as well as those juggling work with caring responsibilities, according to Towergate Health & Protection.

With at least one in 20 people diagnosed with dementia under age 65, the chance of developing the disease whilst of working age has become increasingly likely.

Dementia is the leading cause of death in England and Wales and is now one of the main catalysts of disability in later life.

By 2021, the number of people living with dementia in the UK is expected to rise to one million.

Towergate said employers can offer regular health screenings to monitor vital statistics, such as BMI and blood pressure levels. These checks can be available as part of a standalone health screening programme, or a wider private medical insurance (PMI) policy.

Early diagnosis also allows employers to provide support and seek specialist advice from related services, such as occupational health (OH), about how best to assist an individual and plan for the future, Towergate said. 

With an ageing population and workforce, employees increasingly provide support to relatives living with dementia, which can bring mounting emotional pressures, it added. 

Towergate suggested making emotional and practical support available to help workers manage stress and build resilience, for example through an employee assistance programme.

Brett Hill, distribution director at Towergate Health & Protection, warned that the emotional and cumulative impact of caring for someone with dementia must not be under-estimated. 

“There is a critical implication here for employers, to support mental, physical and financial wellbeing of both those diagnosed and those caring,” he stated.