Frequently Asked Questions

1 .Who is the Dementia Carer Friendly Workplace for?
2. Why specifically target dementia carers?
3. Can’t websites provide help for dementia carers?
4. I don’t have experience of dementia, so how can I expect to help my reportees?
5. How is dementia care impacting on our workplace
6. What is a Dementia Carer Passport?

Who is the Dementia Carer Friendly Workplace for?

  • This model is designed to support your workers who are, or have been dementia carers
  • Greater awareness and understanding of the unforeseen situations a dementia carer may have to suddenly deal with, can help both carers and other employees who work with, or manage them.
  • All employees will benefit from greater awareness and understanding of dementia, its progression and the impact on others. This will promote a more supportive working environment for the dementia carers in your organisation. Those who are not the primary focus – a person living with dementia, their carer and other carers will benefit indirectly.

Why specifically target dementia carers?

  • Dementia carers are at significant additional risk to their own health and wellbeing, but support can reduce this.
  • Dementia carers are more vulnerable when they are invisible to others. As taboos and stigma associated with dementia are reduced, the dementia carers working for you become more visible, less vulnerable and more resilient.
  • Dementia carers feel isolated and alone, sharing their experiences can be very liberating.
  • Any generic issues raised can still be addressed for all carers/employees.

Can’t websites provide help for dementia carers?

  • Dementia carers can be so overloaded that they feel unable to access written or online support. They benefit most from face-to-face and practical help. Feedback has been that a half hour chat was worth more than hours of trawling the internet (generally unsuccessfully).
  • It may be cheaper to provide online help but this will not benefit dementia carers. Helping dementia carers is not a tick box exercise. Providing support at work reinforces care for them as a person, belief that they are making a valuable contribution to society. Your people will see how much they mean to you through your leadership and caring approach to this vulnerable group.

I don’t have experience of dementia, so how can I expect to help my reportees, who are dementia carers?

  • By attending a one hour Dementia Friends session and becoming a Dementia Friend, managers will gain enough understanding of dementia to appreciate the individual and unique nature of how it presents and unpredictable emergencies the carer may have to deal with.
  • By aligning to the Principles of a Dementia Carer Friendly Workplace, your organisation can put advice, policies, carer passport, training and support in place to guide management in support of dementia carers.
  • A Dementia Carer Friendly Network Group takes the pressure off management, as the carer is supported by peers and the Dementia Carer Champion. This also reduces isolation and stress for dementia carers.

How is dementia care impacting on our workplace

Due to the stigma and taboos the real impact of dementia care is most likely to be hidden. Dementia carers often do not give a true reason for sickness, leave or resignation because they fear reprisal. A receptionist for a car company once told me: “I look after my father who has Alzheimer’s, but I wouldn’t dream of telling my boss.”

  • Employees report taking sick leave to manage a person with dementia’s appointment, feeling unable to request the time off.
    • In an approachable environment, three days’ absence can reduce to a few hours.
  • Dementia carers are likely to reduce their hours or resign to care. This seems the only option open to them.
    • Enlightened management can explore flexibility or adjustments which could provide an alternative.
  • Any carer worrying about, but unable to discuss carer issues is likely to be less productive.
    • A chat with a Carer Buddy or at a Network Group can help
  • Our trained and skilled people are difficult, expensive and sometimes impossible to replace.
    • It makes sense to help them to stay in work and care.
    • When other workers see dementia carers being supported they feel that they are working for a company which cares about its people. Employee satisfaction and staff retention are valuable assets.

What is a Dementia Carer Passport?

  • A Dementia Carer Passport is an optional tool to be used as a component of a Dementia Carer Friendly Workplace.
  • It is private and confidential between line manager and reportee.
  • If the line manager moves job, the new manager can access the passport to get all the background information and agreed adjustments or flexibility, without the carer having to go over it all again.
  • The passport can be used to clarify who should be informed and by whom, in the event of an emergency.