early signs of dementia

Dementia is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. In fact, it is estimated that over 55 million people in the world are living with Dementia, with 944,000 people of these being in the UK. It can have a significant impact on a person’s ability to function in their daily lives, with the severity of the disease varying from person to person. This is why, in some circumstances, symptoms can be missed or misinterpreted.

Since employees spend a significant portion of their days within work, as an employer it’s important to be able to spot the early signs of Dementia. By doing this, you could be able to identify signs and assist with early diagnosis.

This blog aims to raise awareness and provide practical guidance on spotting these signs of dementia. Therefore, enabling employers, colleagues, and HR professionals to offer appropriate support and ensure a respectful and inclusive work environment.


Changes in performance


One of the first indications of dementia in the workplace is a noticeable decline in an individual’s performance and productivity. Look for signs such as missed deadlines, difficulty completing tasks that were previously handled with ease, or a decline in the quality of work. Additionally, employees with dementia may struggle with problem-solving, decision-making, or understanding complex instructions. The changes could be very subtle at first, but a consistent change in behaviour may be an indication of dementia.


Difficult memorising


Memory issues are a very common symptom of dementia, and probably the symptom associated most with the illness. In the workplace, individuals with early-stage dementia may frequently forget important details, such as meeting times, project deadlines, or even familiar faces and names. They could be reliant on asking colleagues to reconfirm information or notes. Take note if you notice employees struggling with recalling recent conversations or experiences.


Language issues


Dementia can affect a person’s communication skills. This can then lead to difficulties expressing themselves or understanding others. Employees could struggle to find the right words, exhibit increased hesitations, or have difficulty following conversations. They could also repeat themselves, and lose track of their train of thought whilst having conversations. Take note if you notice an employee experiencing language or communication issues which are not common for them. Whilst there could be an explanation for this, these issues can also be an early sign of dementia.


Behavioural or emotional changes


Whilst everyone has their ups and downs, due to both work and home challenges. Noticeable and consistent changes in a person’s emotional state should not be ignored. Individuals who are experiencing the early stages of dementia could become irritable, agitated and withdrawn. Some people may have uncharacteristic outbursts or have difficulty controlling their emotions. In turn, these emotional changes can impact working relationships and team dynamics.


Contact Us


Identifying the early signs of Dementia as an employer can be crucial to getting an early diagnosis. As people complete tasks in the workplace which they do not in other environments. By recognising changes in performance, memory, communication, behaviour, and organisational skills, employers, colleagues, and HR professionals can take proactive steps to create an inclusive and supportive environment.

Early intervention and assistance can significantly improve the well-being and productivity of employees with dementia. Call us on 01260 277797 or email us at website@acornoh.co.uk for more information on how we can support you. 

Want to know more about the Occupational Health services we provide at Acorn, and how they could benefit your business and your employees? Please get in touch.