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Employee with dementia | Where to start | Approaching your employer | Legal rights and employer obligationsAsking for accommodations | Informing coworkers | 

Informing coworkers

You don’t have to tell co-workers you have dementia. You may be worried about how people will treat you once they know. It’s a valid concern.

However, if you don’t tell co-workers, they may draw conclusions about why your behavior or job performance is “off,” such as:

  • Lack of motivation for work
  • Problems with substance abuse
  • Issues at home

For these reasons, you may decide to tell co-workers about your diagnosis. There are advantages; disclosing your condition allows you to:

  • Explain that you still have abilities, but may struggle with certain tasks 
  • Help them understand your circumstance and avoid confrontations caused by misunderstanding
  • Ask an informed co-worker for support in a particular task

Co-workers can be a great support for a person with dementia. They can provide an understanding ear and encouragement.

It’s best to let your employer know first. She might help address coworkers’ concerns about how changes to your job responsibilities will affect them. Before telling coworkers:

  • Learn about the disease. Your physician or your local Alzheimer Society will help.
  • Your local Alzheimer Society can provide coworkers with dementia myth-busting information
  • Your employer can invite a local Alzheimer Society representative to present at work.
  • Be prepared to discuss challenges of the disease and your capabilities

Some coworkers may treat you differently after learning you have dementia. This is beyond your control. If it becomes an obstruction at work, your employer or your local Alzheimer Society can help.


Last Updated: 07/22/14
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