How to accommodate employees with dementia
A diagnosis of dementia does not mean an employee needs to stop working right away. Employees with dementia may still offer valuable skills, knowledge and experience.
To accommodate an employee with dementia:
- Recognize he may have difficulty completing familiar tasks
- Set small, manageable goals
- Help her maintain a familiar work routine and environment to alleviate anxiety and promote confidence
- Match tasks with his current strengths
- Provide calendars and to-do lists
- Provide simple, written instructions
- Provide a simple, uncluttered working environment
- Develop a consistent work schedule. Frequent starting and stopping make tasks more difficult.
- Provide a quiet working environment.
Working with an employee with dementia
Dementia creates distinct challenges in how people express themselves and understand what is being communicated to them.
Employees with dementia may:
- Need more time to respond to questions
- Have difficulty following multiple-step instructions
- Require increased concentration to follow conversations
- Have trouble staying on topic
- Have difficulty understanding humour, jokes and fast talk
It is important to view people with dementia as individuals, with unique attributes, personal values and history.
To communicate effectively with an employee with dementia:
- Learn about dementia and its effects
- Believe communication is possible
- Focus on the person’s abilities and skills
- Reassure and be positive
- Accept their reality