It’s estimated around 850,000 people across the UK are living with dementia – a condition traditionally associated with memory loss, but which actually has wide-ranging symptoms including confusion, language problems, and difficulties completing every-day tasks.
This number is sadly set to rise and it’s predicted will surpass one million within the next couple of years. So, it’s important for individuals to be aware of how they can proactively reduce their chances of developing symptoms, what the early signs are, and – for employers – how they can support their teams if they or a loved one are diagnosed.
While it’s not yet possible to guarantee you won’t get dementia, there are certain risk factors which have been linked to the condition, including smoking, obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. Hearing loss, untreated depression, a sedentary lifestyle, and loneliness can also contribute to the likelihood of developing dementia later on in life.
This highlights why it’s so important to access preventative healthcare, seek support for symptoms as early as possible, and live as healthy a lifestyle as possible.
Paycare is here to support Policyholders by:
- Making it easier to access doctors’ appointments via MyPocketGP.
- Encouraging everyone to attend regular healthcare appointments, as they can then claim cash back via their policy.
- Assisting employers to implement effective wellbeing policies and practices.
- Offering health assessments as part of plans.
Coping with a loved one’s diagnosis
Supporting a family member, friend or neighbour who has dementia can take a real toll on your wellbeing, so it’s important to spread caring responsibilities between a few of you if possible in order to ensure you’re all getting a break.
Looking after yourself by resting when you can, trying to sleep, eat and drink as well as possible, and reaching out to others for help is essential. Keeping your employer in the loop can also help ensure you get the support you need, and there are charities out there like Alzheimer’s Society and Dementia UK who can provide advice and guidance.
Don’t forget about your GP appointment and telephone counselling services if you’re a Paycare Policyholder too!
And, if you’re looking for activities that your loved one may enjoy and you’re local to the Black Country, don’t forget the Memory Café at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre. We’re one of the sponsors of the café, which sees those living with dementia and their loved ones or carers joining together to enjoy mornings of entertainment and refreshments in a supportive environment. To find out more, simply click here and scroll down to the Memory Café section.
How can employers help?
While early onset dementia (where symptoms begin before the age of 65) is fairly rare – estimated to impact around 5% of those with the condition, it is a consideration for employers of anyone diagnosed while they are still working.
There are also many employees who will be dealing with the emotional impact of a loved one having dementia, and/or the practical implications of being a carer. This means it’s vital to have support in place as part of your Workplace Wellbeing strategy.
This support could come in the form of access to an Employee Assistance Programme so they can share their concerns confidentially; flexible working to allow them to more easily split their time between their job and their caring role; and having trained Mental Health First Aiders in place to assist them should their wellbeing become significantly impacted.
Not yet signed up to a Paycare plan? You can find the best one for you or your company here.