World Alzheimer’s Month is an annual international campaign aimed at raising awareness and challenging the stigma that surrounds dementia and it aims to educate the public about the disease, encourage early detection, and improve the quality of life for those living with it. The campaign runs throughout September every year and brings together individuals, organisations, and governments to support those affected by dementia and their families.
The campaign hopes to create a better understanding of the disease and its impact on people’s lives, as well as highlight the need for research and investment in finding a cure. The campaign also seeks to provide support to those living with the disease, to ensure that they lead fulfilling lives and are treated with dignity and respect.
World Alzheimer’s Month is relevant to anyone who has been affected by dementia, including individuals living with the disease, caregivers, family members, healthcare professionals, and policymakers.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s Disease, which is also known as simply Alzheimer’s, is a degenerative neurological condition that affects the brain and impacts memory, thinking, and behaviour. As Alzheimer’s progresses, it can make it difficult for people to perform tasks related to their daily lives, including work. Although it is most common in older adults, Alzheimer’s can affect people of all ages.
Alzheimer’s in the workplace
Spotting the signs of Alzheimer’s in the workplace can be challenging, especially in the early stages when the symptoms might not be so apparent. Some common early signs of Alzheimer’s include forgetfulness, difficulty finding the right words, mood changes, and a decreased ability to concentrate. As the disease progresses, signs can become more noticeable, such as difficulty with problem-solving, disorientation, and confusion.
Working with employees who have Alzheimer’s can present unique challenges to employers. It is important for employers to be compassionate and understanding while managing and supporting employees with Alzheimer’s in the workplace. Employers can help employees with Alzheimer’s by providing flexible work schedules, modifying the work environment, and simplifying job tasks.
There are several ways that employers can modify the work environment to make it easier and more accommodating for employees with Alzheimer’s. For example, an employer can use colour-coded or labelled files and folders to help employees better organise their work and workspace and additionally, employers can decrease distractions and limit noise levels in the office to help employees stay focused on their work and reduce confusion.
Another way that employers can help employees with Alzheimer’s is by simplifying job tasks. Employers can break down complicated tasks into smaller, easier-to-manage steps, ensuring clear instructions and expectations. Moreover, using visual aids and flowcharts can help employees with Alzheimer’s understand their tasks and remember important details.
Support for Alzheimer’s
Employers also need to consider ways to support the families of employees with Alzheimer’s who might be struggling to balance their work responsibilities and caregiving obligations. Employers could provide support, such as counselling for families, flexible leave policies, and telecommuting options, to help them balance their work and caregiving responsibilities.
In conclusion, Alzheimer’s is a complex condition that can affect employees in many ways, making it challenging for them to fulfil their job duties. Nevertheless, employers and managers can foster a supportive and inclusive work environment. This can include a workforce that is trained and educated about the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s, ways they can assist employees, and updates on new research, treatments, and policies surrounding Alzheimer’s in the workplace.
For further information on supporting employees with Alzheimers in the workplace, please contact us here.