Facilitating access to dementia-inclusive programs, services, and support

Facilitating access to dementia-inclusive programs, services, and support

Providing and knowing what types of programs, services, and support you can or already offer your employees is an important part of being a dementia-inclusive employer. 

Employees concerned they may be suffering from dementia can benefit from assessments, screenings, and access to medical practitioners to help understand their symptoms and provide a diagnosis. In Alberta, you can recommend that your employee consult a doctor, where the cost of the doctor visit and any related testing is covered for employees with the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan. You can also recommend and, as feasible, cover the costs for a third party health assessment.


Accessing benefits

Employees affected by dementia, whether because they are living with dementia or caring for someone with dementia, can be overwhelmed by emotion, planning, and changes to their lives. You can save them time and mental fatigue by providing them information about or connecting them directly with helpful programs, services, and support.

If you are an employer with a benefits program, it is important that you are familiar with the program and ensure your employee and their care partners are knowledgeable about the offerings. It can be especially helpful to meet with your employee and their care partner(s) to walk through what you offer or are willing to offer to meet their needs. If you are willing to offer your employee access to new programs, services, or support, take the time to ask them what type of support they or their doctor believe will help the most.

It is also important to ensure your employee and their care partners understand what benefits they will retain or lose upon leaving the organization. Depending on the employee’s age, role with the organization, length of service, and what you offer for a benefits program, your employee may be able to continue accessing health, wellness, or financial support for a period of time or ongoing. They may also be able to transition from employee-offered benefits to government or community-offered benefits. Providing this information as early as possible gives your employee an opportunity to consider and make long-term plans.

Employer-offered benefits programs

There are many different providers of employee benefits programs in Alberta and they offer many types of employee benefits, including health assessments and services, second medical opinions, confidential counselling and wellness resources, short- and long-term disability financial assistance, life insurance, financial savings and retirement contributions, and more.   

Community services and supports

To be a dementia-inclusive employer, it is beneficial to familiarize yourself with community-based services and support available to support people impacted by dementia.

The Alzheimer Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories offers an early intervention program, called First Link, that connects people living with dementia and their care partners to the services and support available in their area of the province. Both health professionals and individuals themselves can contact a First Link coordinator at 1-866-950-5465.

It is also helpful to be familiar with the services and support in your community related to:

  • Consulting a doctor.
  • Mental health services.
  • Financial and retirement planning.
  • Legal services (e.g., employment law, will, power of attorney, personal directive).
  • Respite for caregivers.
  • Support networks.
  • Accessing health and extended health treatments (e.g., occupational therapy, physical therapy, dietary, psychology).
  • Spiritual Care.

Minimizing the risk of dementia