Dementia in the workplace: a review

Louise Ritchie (Institute of Older Persons’ Health and Wellbeing, School of Health, Nursing and Midwifery, University of the West of Scotland, Hamilton, UK)
Pauline Banks (Institute of Older Persons’ Health and Wellbeing, School of Health, Nursing and Midwifery, University of the West of Scotland, UK)
Michael Danson (School of Management and Languages, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK)
Debbie Tolson (School of Health, Nursing and Midwifery, University of the West of Scotland, Hamilton, UK)
Fiona Borrowman (Health Improvement Programme, Mental Health & Wellbeing in Later Life and Dementia, NHS Health Scotland, Edinburgh, UK)

Journal of Public Mental Health

ISSN: 1746-5729

Publication date: 16 March 2015



Recent changes affecting state pension age, and earlier diagnosis, will result in more people with dementia in employment. The purpose of this paper is to establish the nature of support that would enable/enables people with dementia or mild cognitive impairment to continue employment post diagnosis.


An integrative review was carried out supported by information derived from a thematic analysis of data from interviews with seven relatives supporting a younger person with dementia and one person with dementia.


Six papers were identified for inclusion in the review. Findings from the published papers and interviews indicated that work is a significant issue for people with dementia highlighting problems with job retention, work performance and the impact of diagnosis.

Research limitations/implications

The review highlighted a dearth of high-quality research in the area. Although employment was not the main focus of the interviews, the extracts highlight some of the challenges that face people who develop dementia while of working age, their families, and employers.

Practical implications

Vocational rehabilitation is primarily carried out by allied health professionals; however, there is a lack of research evidence relating to people with dementia in the workplace. Further research is needed in order to inform future practice.

Social implications

Loss of employment deprives families of financial security and employers of a skilled employee.


This is the first review to focus on dementia in employment, providing a starting point on which to base future research in this area.



The literature review was funded by an Alzheimer’s Society Research Grant No. 180 (PG-2012-199). The project is supported by the Scottish Dementia Clinical Research Network. The interviews were carried out on behalf of NHS Health Scotland and Alzheimer Scotland. The authors are grateful to the interviewees for their permission to publish extracts from the interviews.


Ritchie, L., Banks, P., Danson, M., Tolson, D. and Borrowman, F. (2015), "Dementia in the workplace: a review", Journal of Public Mental Health, Vol. 14 No. 1, pp. 24-34.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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