Medway DAA Business Breakfast
Kent businesses learn more about impact of dementia on employees
Forty businesses came together to show their willingness to make Medway a more dementia friendly area. Medway Dementia Action Alliance organised a business breakfast meeting on Thursday 3 November, and businesses from across Kent and Medway visited Chatham Historic Dockyard.
They discussed how to support people affected by dementia, either living with condition or caring for someone with it, in the work place. The meeting saw speakers discussing their personal experiences of dementia and the workplace.
Denise Wilton, owner of The Mylan Focus, a Marketing and Business Development Consultancy, spoke about her experiences of caring for her dad with dementia; Lorraine Brown talk of the trauma of having her career ended because of her diagnosis of dementia; and Jemma Fairclough-Haynes, from Orchard Law spoke about indirect discrimination, what reasonable adjustments need to be made for people affected by dementia.
The event was followed by an optional Dementia Friends session, an initiative that aims to help people understand what it might be like to live with dementia and turn that understanding into action.
Lorraine was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in August 2014, at the age of 61, after colleagues noticed she was not performing to her usual standard at work.
She put this down to stress as a result of problems at home, and hoped the tests that were offered to her would confirm this. Lorraine Brown, Alzheimer’s Society ambassador and Chairman of Medway Dementia Action Alliance, said:
“I’d worked at the hospital for 24 years and as soon as I got my diagnosis, it was almost like they didn’t have time for me. It was a strange situation because I felt that I was the last to know that I had dementia I was in denial for a long time, which I think was one of the reasons it took so long to diagnose.
“I’m on a mission to improve the lives of people affected by dementia and the work environment is a good place to start. I feel passionately that people should still have the same respect, even if you do have dementia.”
Across the UK, there are 42,325 people aged under 65 with dementia, many of whom continue to work following diagnosis, and the 27 per cent of carers continue to work after a diagnosis of dementia
Jackie Swapp, Alzheimer’s Society Operations Manager for Kent and Medway, said: “It was great to see organisations and businesses come together to find out more about dementia and the impact it can have of their work force.
“It’s possible that someone may receive a diagnosis of dementia while they are still working. This doesn't necessarily mean that they will need to give up work straight away, but there are some things they may want to think about, like talking to your employer and thinking about the future.
“A diagnosis of dementia does not instantly mean that you can no longer work, and it was good to be able to share information with local employers about the options.”
To find out how your business can become dementia friendly, visit www.alzheimers.org.uk/dementiafriendlycommunities
Kind thanks to Al Frank Monk Photography for the photographs