What do you think of when you see or hear this word?
In a recent YouGov survey, the fear of getting dementia was greater for most people and their families than the fear of getting cancer.
Like cancer used to be until relatively recently, for many of us, dementia is a taboo subject. This is beginning to change as the public are made aware of the huge number of people affected and the impact it has on them, those close to them and the rest of society.
With the abolition of the default retirement age and the economic necessity of people working further into their old age, the progressive nature of dementia and the whole spectrum of cognitive impairment are fast becoming major risks to employers and their employees.
It’s not just about those employees diagnosed as shown in this piece from the BBC which covers the Dementia Friends initiative.
It’s also about the affect it has on employees who need to care for someone with the condition. With state provision of care limited as it is, the number of carers in the workforce is only going to rise.
As a progressive disease, so often the responses to dementia only come at crisis point on late diagnosis. What would really help the situation is if we all understood our dementia risk much earlier and monitored possible symptoms. This would enable us and those with a caring responsibility for us to plan ahead effectively.
I believe employers can play a major role in bringing this about and ensuring a much greater level of understanding. It really is in their own interests to do so.