29 June 2019

Dementia in the workplace: the implications for career development practice


Next month, Dr Valerie Egdell and I will be presenting at the British Society of Gerontology 48th Annual Conference which takes place from 10th – 12th July 2019 in Liverpool. We are paper 136, part of the Work, retirement and the economy session. An abstract for our paper can be found below. 

This is the first public presentation of our (with Dr Louise Ritchie) highly important work on this topic. 

Abstract
It is recognised that dementia is, and will increasingly be, a workplace issue. While continued employment is not appropriate for all, it is possible (Ritchie et al., 2018). At present however, many individuals leave the workplace before, or on receipt of, a diagnosis of dementia (Ritchie et al., 2018). Continued employment, facilitated by reasonable adjustments, or redeployment, may not be considered; such that employers may fail meet their legal and human rights obligations to support employees with dementia (Egdell et al., 2018; Ritchie et al., 2018). The workplace exits of people with dementia are often poor, compromising dignity and self-esteem (Ritchie et al., 2018). This paper argues that more attention needs to be given to supporting employees with dementia to either remain in work or exit the workplace, and that career development practice has a key role in this. While attention has been paid to the career development needs of older workers and persons with disabilities (Chen, 2011; Soresi et al., 2008), there has been no consideration of persons with dementia. This paper considers the role of careers practitioners can play in the development and implementation of coping strategies to aid the continued employment of persons with dementia. When continued employment is not possible, the role of careers practitioners in the range of decisions, that extend beyond the cessation of work, is considered. In reflecting on the role of career development practice in supporting employees with dementia, the importance of cross-disciplinary work between this area and (social) gerontology is stressed.

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