Public Health England (PHE) and Alzheimer’s Society have joined forces in a major new campaign to help create a more dementia friendly society.
The campaign releases new research showing signs of a shift in willingness from business to become more dementia friendly.
A report compiled by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) for Dementia Friends showed that:
Most businesses have already provided or would consider providing a range of support to carers of someone living with dementia. A total of 87% of businesses surveyed have or would consider letting carers work flexible hours
More than half of businesses would consider providing a range of support to dementia carers such as flexible working hours (63%), extended leave (61%), working from different locations (53%) and counselling and support (51%)
Around 18% would consider paying for respite care
The average person diagnosed with dementia has been in their current job for at least 9 years. The relatively rapid progression of the disease from diagnosis means that it is inevitable that many individuals affected while still working will have to take early retirement at some point, however with support from employers they may be able to keep working for longer
These proposed changes will be welcomed by England’s carers, who are struggling to fit care into busy lives:
Carers spend 28 hours a week on average caring for someone with dementia
Most (51%) are also working; these employed carers spend an average 18 hours a week caring on top of their jobs
Over a quarter (27%) of businesses surveyed have employed someone who needed to make adjustments to their working patterns in order to care for someone living with dementia
The hours lost due to carer commitments equates to £1.6bn to English businesses each year
Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Society said: "The fact that thousands of workers in this country are juggling caring responsibilities without support and understanding from their employers is frightening. We’re all beginning to talk about dementia, however, society is not yet fully supportive of people with dementia, either in the workplace or in everyday life. I’d love to see everyone become Dementia Friends, and make life that little bit easier for people with dementia."
Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, said: "Dementia isn’t just a health condition – it attacks the fabric of our society and can take a huge toll on the families and friends of those affected by the disease. I am urging everyone – families, communities and businesses to come together to ensure that people with dementia can continue to live fulfilling and rewarding lives."