brainscanDementia should be a concern for business, according to a survey of UK HR professionals, as research has revealed that 8% of UK companies have already encountered employees with dementia.

The study, from employee health risk specialist PMI Health Group, also found that 74% of HR professionals agree with the Alzheimer’s Society’s recent calls for every company in the UK to have a dementia policy.

Mike Blake, a director of PMI Health Group, said: "The number of people with dementia is expected to increase to one million by 2021 and an ageing workforce means employees may be affected as both sufferers and carers. 

"It is heartening to see from our survey that employers are now considering the need to provide education on the condition and to support staff who are either suffering from the condition or caring for someone with the condition.”

The online survey was conducted in June with 174 HR professionals from across the UK. It also revealed that HR professionals are being increasingly affected by the issue. For instance, 29% have had to give staff time off to look after relatives with dementia and 69% now offer flexible working to staff who care for elderly relatives.

Eldercare is also becoming more of a priority for HR departments and 69% of HR professionals think employers have a responsibility to offer eldercare benefits to staff. These include access to helplines and specialists who can advise on, and manage, the needs of elderly relatives.