A dementia diagnosis can be a lot to take in. You may be feeling scared, confused, and overwhelmed. One of the things you may need to do is tell your employer about your diagnosis. It can be a difficult decision to tell your employer that you have been diagnosed with dementia. You may be worried about how they will react, or what changes will be made to your working conditions. However, it is important to remember that you have rights in the workplace, and there are organisations out there that can offer help and support. This can be a difficult conversation, but it is important to have. Here are some tips on how to talk to your employer about your dementia diagnosis.
1. What to do if you’re diagnosed with dementia
When you initially receive your dementia diagnosis, it is understandable that you will need some time to process the news. Some common ways to process this news are to speak to loved ones, your GP, and charities such as the Alzheimer’s Society. It is important to get all the information you can about your diagnosis so that you can make an informed decision. Once you have had time to come to terms with your diagnosis, it is important to start thinking about telling your employer. This can be a difficult decision, but it is important to remember that you have rights in the workplace, and there are organisations out there that can offer help.
2. How to talk to your employer about your diagnosis
Before you talk to your employer, it may be helpful to write down what you want to say. This can help you organize your thoughts and make sure you cover everything you want to discuss. Some things to consider mentioning are how your diagnosis will affect your work, what changes you may need in the workplace, and what support you may need. It is also important to remember that you have the right to keep your diagnosis confidential if you wish. If you decide to tell your employer, it is best to do so in person. This will allow you the opportunity to discuss any concerns you may have, and answer any questions they may have. Be prepared for questions from your employer. They may want to know how your diagnosis will impact your work or if there are any accommodations you need in order to continue working. If they ask questions you haven’t thought about, remember it is OK to say you don’t know at this time, or you need some time to think about it. This should be part of an ongoing conversation with your employer. This can help ensure that any changes that need to be made in the workplace are made with the changes in your needs.
3. What rights do you have as an employee with dementia
It is important to remember that you have rights in the workplace. The UK has laws in place to protect employees with disabilities, including those with dementia. You can find more information about your rights on the Equality and Human Rights Commission website. Your employer is required to make reasonable adjustments to your workplace so that you can continue working. This may include changes to your hours, tasks, or working environment. If you need time off for medical appointments, your employer should accommodate this. Remember, you are also entitled to have confidential conversations with your employer about your diagnosis.
4. How to stay positive and maintain a good relationship with your employer
As with any long-term health diagnosis, it can take some time to take to process. You will go on the journey of learning more and understanding how people (loved ones and employers) can help you better. To create a positive employer with your employer on this journey you can :
- Keep an open line of communication – This will help ensure that any changes that need to be made are made with the changes in your needs.
- Think about what you need – Write down or keep a running list of changes you may need in order to continue working. Be sure to bring this up during conversations with your employer.
- Educate yourself and your employer – Learn as much as you can about dementia. This will help you understand the changes YOU may experience and how they may impact your work. Everyone’s needs will be different. It will also help your employer be more understanding and accommodating.
- Speak to your Workplace Occupational Health professional – If your company has an Occupational Health provider, make an appointment to speak with them. This is a confidential conversation in which you can discuss your diagnosis and offer different options and viewpoints you can discuss with your manager and employer.
5. Useful resources for people living with dementia and their families
There are many charities and organizations that offer help and support for people with dementia and their families. The Alzheimer’s Society is a good resource for information and support. They offer a helpline, support groups, and other resources. Dementia UK also offers information and support, as well as Admiral Nurses who can provide one-on-one support. If you have been diagnosed with dementia, it is important to remember that you are not alone. There are many people living with this diagnosis.
6. If you are an employer /manager how you can help
If you are a manager or employer, some ways you can support your team or employees are :
- Educate yourself – Learning about dementia will help you understand how it may impact your employee’s work.
- Offer support and understanding – Showing empathy and being accommodating can go a long way.
- Create a dementia-friendly workplace – There are many ways to do this, but some things you can consider are having clear signage.
- Work with an Occupational Health Specialist – If you have an Occupational Health Specialist at your company, they can help you assess the needs of your employee and offer different solutions. Or if you need an Occupational Health Specialist please reach out to us here at Su Chantry and we can start a conversation on how we can support you are your team. Contact us here.
Sharing your dementia diagnosis with your employer can be a daunting task, but it is important to remember that you have rights in the workplace. Remember that there are laws in place to protect employees with disabilities, including those with dementia. Remember, you are also entitled to have confidential conversations with your employer about your diagnosis. But also be prepared for questions from your employer so that they can support you in the way you need. Your workplace Occupation Health Professional is a great resource to discuss any concerns you have. There are also many resources available to help you cope with a dementia diagnosis. The Alzheimer’s Society is a good resource for information and support. They offer a helpline, support groups, and other resources.