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Why retain an employee with young onset dementia?
Alzheimer’s, the most common form of young-onset dementia, is considered a disability and is covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Therefore, employers have an obligation to meet with the employee to discuss reasonable accommodations—with the outcome determining whether the employee can keep his or her job.
What are the benefits?
Employees with young-onset dementia are valuable, experienced, and effective employees. Often, in the early stages of the disease, the person with young-onset dementia is high-functioning and retains sufficient skills and abilities garnered from years of employment experience.
Typically, young-onset dementia in the early stage affects recent memories far more than memories from the past. The employee may have difficulty remembering new things, or may need memory aid, but his or her ability to reason and to make informed decisions often does not decline in the early stages of the disease process.
In many cases, assistive technology can maintain and improve an employee’s success on the job. Employees can remain as valuable assets.