Building employee awareness and understanding

Building employee awareness and understanding

The first step to being a dementia-inclusive employer is learning about dementia and how it affects people. By developing this understanding, you will be better able to:

  • recognize the signs of dementia,
  • understand the experiences of dementia care partners,
  • relate to and engage with employees diagnosed with dementia or employees providing care to people living with dementia,
  • understand your employees’ needs and, for people living with dementia, offer reasonable accommodations, and
  • recognize that dementia is a progressive disease and work with employees diagnosed with dementia on a plan to identify the terms and conditions when they will exit the workplace.
Can learning about dementia in the workplace really make a difference to people living with dementia and their care partners?

Yes! There are a lot of stereotypes and misinformation about dementia, including that people must immediately stop working upon receiving a dementia diagnosis. Learning about dementia gives you the opportunity to encourage, support, and be a credible, reassuring, and trusted source of information for employees impacted by dementia. Unfortunately, a lot of people aren’t aware how big of an impact they can make by simply being dementia aware and taking steps to be more dementia inclusive. In a 2017 national awareness survey (Alzheimer Society of Canada, 2017), only five per cent of Canadians said they would try to learn more about dementia if someone close to them was diagnosed. This creates a lot of room for employers to become trusted information sources and make a difference in the lives of employees affected by dementia

Do I have legal obligations to people impacted by dementia?

Yes, all Alberta employers have a legal obligation to:

  • Provide reasonable accommodations in the workplace to ensure their rules, standards, policies, workplace cultures, and physical environments to ensure that they don’t have a negative effect on a person because they are living with dementia..
  • Provide employees with compassionate care leave, which provides job protection for up to 27 weeks when a dementia care partner is caring for a family member or someone the employee considers to be like a close relative who is at risk of dying, as indicated by a medical certificate, within 26 weeks.



Alzheimer Society of Canada (2017). Alzheimer Society 2017 Awareness Survey Executive Summary