Unsupported dementia carers impact on the workplace

The impact of dementia on the workplace

Valuable and experienced people are choosing to go part-time and leave work altogether to care, because they think they have no other choice. They do not always declare the real reason to HR, or even to colleagues.

With flexibility and support, they can stay and reduce the drain on our recruitment and training resources. The carer retains pension and employability, the employer retains skills and knowledge, whilst gaining discretionary effort and staff satisfaction.

The hidden cost of dementia

If you do not think that dementia care is affecting your workplace then think again!

  • 1 in 9 employees are working carers – this is set to increase by 50% to 1 inn 6 in the next 15 years.
  • 1 in 5 working carers leave the workforce due to care.
  • Working carers leave the workforce 8 years earlier.
  • Women are 17 x more likely to have left work to care than men.
  • Working carers are five times more likely to experience stress and unplanned absence in unsupportive environments.

Whilst dementia care may be a significant part of this, bear in mind that young-onset Dementia affects people under 65. They could be as young as 30 with a mortgage and a young family. Their carers need our support.

A carer reported that he took three days sick leave to help his mother-in-law with dementia attend an appointment. He feared that he would not be allowed the time off otherwise. In a supportive and open work environment, he might have been gone a few hours and made the time up later.

We often dismiss the impact on other workers, but it can be significant. Belonging to a caring organisation can motivate a worker to stay, even if offered an increase in pay elsewhere. Seeing a colleague supported can be a huge relief to a concerned colleague. Better awareness and understanding of dementia can help colleagues to support extended family or neighbours who are affected.