Being told you are living with dementia can be difficult and emotionally challenging, however this diagnosis does not mean the end of a life lived independently or happily. Although some aspects of everyday life may change, there are many things which, with the right care and attention, can remain the same, and one of these is remaining in work.
Dementia is often misconstrued as debilitating and rendering a person unable to complete daily tasks, however this is simply untrue. Dementia affects people in a variety of different ways and many people continue to live happy and healthy lives. Here we will discuss some of the top reasons why a dementia diagnosis does not necessarily mean retirement.
Benefits of Staying in Work
There are numerous benefits to staying in work when living with dementia, from maintain social connections to improving cognitive ability. We have highlighted just some of the top benefits of staying in work when living with dementia below.
Many people living with dementia continue to live independently at home, completing daily tasks as normal, and therefore this independence can be transferred to the workplace. Whilst it is important to stay aware of any advancements or changes in care needs, there is no reason why someone living with dementia cannot continue working independently, which is excellent for boosting self-worth and improving mood.
Dementia does not limit your abilities to stay active and involved in activities in the first instance. Whilst some people may experience mobility issues later in life, there are still plenty of ways to remain active, whether in the workplace or as part of a hobby.
Activity is also not limited to physical, and can also relate to keeping the brain active, and what better place to do this than at work. Continuing to work and challenge the brain is an excellent way to stay engaged and involved. Small adjustments may be needed within the role at work to accommodate any changes in cognitive ability, but continuing to work is a brilliant way to engage the brain. Another excellent way to stay active outside of work is to engage in dementia activities from Active Minds which can help those living with dementia continue to lead active lives.
Loneliness and social isolation can greatly affect someone living with dementia and this can be increasingly more common in those who retire early. By remaining in work, whether paid or voluntary, can be excellent for retaining social skills and reducing loneliness.
Speak to Your Employer
Employers have a duty of care within the workplace and can offer many different things to support someone living with dementia. From altering the job role or providing flexible hours, to making suitable and reasonable adjustments in the work environment such as providing areas to work which are quieter and less distracting, and implementing clear signage around the workplace to help avoid confusion.
It is important to make your employer aware of your diagnosis so they can make reasonable changes around the workplace. These changes will ultimately help you to continue working for longer.