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What are the experiences of people with dementia in employment?

Chaplin, R and Davidson, I (2016) What are the experiences of people with dementia in employment? Dementia (London), 15 (2). pp. 147-161. ISSN 1741-2684

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Abstract

Statistics show that an increase in the statutory retirement age in the UK will mean that many more people will develop a dementia while still in employment. A review of the literature confirmed that there are no existing studies in the UK which examine this issue in any detail. The aim of this study was to investigate the experiences of people who develop a dementia while still in employment and to understand how they make sense of these experiences; therefore a qualitative explorative inquiry based on an Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis methodology was used. Interviews with five people who had developed a dementia while still in employment were carried out, with ages ranging from 58 to 74 years. Interview transcripts were analysed and four super-ordinate themes were identified: the realization that something is wrong; managing the situation in the workplace; trying to make sense of change; and coming to terms with retirement or unemployment. The results showed that people who develop a dementia while still in employment do not always receive the 'reasonable adjustments' in the workplace to which they are entitled under the Equality Act (2010). Some of the participants felt that they were poorly treated by their workplace and described some distressing experiences. The study highlights the need for more effective specialized advice and support regarding employment issues and more research into the numbers of people in the UK that are affected by this issue.

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