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Businesses urged to adapt to dementia

Businesses urged to adapt to dementia
14th August 2014

Businesses are being urged to do more to accommodate people with dementia, with the prevalence of the condition set to increase in coming years.

According to the Centre of Economics and Business Research (CEBR), the cost of working hours lost to dementia will increase to £3 billion by 2030.

The number of people living with this form of cognitive decline is projected to rise to almost 1.1 billion over the next 16 years - double the current figure.

This will have a "huge impact" on businesses, the CEBR states, due to workers reducing hours, changing work patterns or even quitting, as people take on more caring responsibilities. 

According to the research, there will be a large increase in employees leaving work to care for people with the degenerative condition - the figure is set to rise from 50,000 in 2014 to 83,100 in 2030.

However, companies could make big savings by doing more to accommodate the needs of such staff - for instance, by offering flexible working arrangements. This would enable them to retain top talent and result in a saving of £415 million.

As there is an increasing need for people over the age of 65 to remain in employment, the cost of the disease in terms of skills and experience lost from the workforce will rise from £628 million to £1.16 billion.

Some firms are beginning to make progress on the issue, with eight per cent having already made provisions to accommodate the needs of a member of staff with dementia.

Companies that do not adapt could lose out, the report states, with the spending power of households affected by this disease set to double to £22.7 billion by 2030.

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of Alzheimer's Society, said: "Thousands of people affected by dementia are forced to give up work and are denied a lifeline because of the failure of organisations to change the way they do business.

"As the condition touches the lives of more people, businesses must gear up to support all people with dementia - staff and customers alike."

Read more about Barchester's dementia care homes.