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30th April 2020

Supporting your colleagues affected by dementia

The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) is working with Alzheimer’s Society to support the construction sector to become more dementia-friendly. This means supporting your colleagues who may be living with or caring for someone with dementia.

The challenge

850,000 people in the UK are living with dementia, a number that is expected to rise to 1 million by 2021. It is highly likely that many of the people you work with will be affected by dementia in some way:

Living with dementia: 18% of people diagnosed with dementia under the age of 65 continue to work. However, many workforces are not geared up to support people with dementia to stay in work: 1 in 5 people with dementia are unable to find or stay in work, and nearly 1 in 10 people with dementia report discrimination at work. This prevents people affected by dementia from living the lives they want to lead.

Caring for someone with dementia: Nearly 1 in 9 employees in the UK have a caring responsibility. This often means they have to give up work. The loss of their skills and experience cost English businesses almost £2.6 billion in 2019.

Supporting your colleagues

There are actions you can take to support people affected by dementia. This involves raising awareness about dementia across your organisation, making adaptations, and making your environments more dementia-friendly.

Adapting work: Discuss the variety of options to support the person to stay in work. Adjustments could be made, such as switching roles or changing working hours. This can help with attending appointments and services. Some people with dementia find their confusion gets worse later in the day but maybe less pronounced in the early morning. By encouraging and championing flexible working, people affected by dementia can fulfil their hours at a time that is suitable for them.

Providing support: You should ensure that staff know who to contact in their organisation for greater support. You should also provide support for carers to manage their own health, such as the use of occupational health assessments and access to counselling or employee assistance programmes.

Dementia-friendly policies and procedures: Review HR policies to ensure they are supportive of people who developing dementia or have caring responsibilities. For example, create a Carers’ Policy or a paid carers’ leave scheme. These should be tailored to support the individual.

See Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friendly Housing Guide for more ideas:

Living well with dementia

The first step to understand more about how to support people affected by dementia is to become Dementia Friends. Dementia Friends is Alzheimer’s Society’s awareness-raising programme changing the way society thinks, acts and talks about dementia. CIOB is providing this for free in two ways. Either:

  1. Complete the short e-learning module at or
  2. Go to and watch the videos using the code CIOB123 


It is possible to live well with dementia. People with dementia may still be able to do the things they did before they were diagnosed – this includes going to work. For both people living with and caring for dementia, continuing to go to work enables them to continue feeling purposeful and provides key socialising opportunities. You can provide support to enable this to happen.