Workplace counselling could help dementia carers

Workplaces could do more to help care for their employees who are looking after relatives with dementia, health officials have argued.

According to new research by Public Health England, one in eight people is looking after a relative with dementia, often giving around 18 hours of care on top of their typical weekly workloads. Elsewhere, some 50,000 were said to have quit their jobs entirely in order to dedicate the time needed to care, whilst a further 66,000 changed their hours or had to make cutbacks.

On a purely financial level, this means dementia now costs British businesses £1.6 billion every year, dailymail.co.uk reports.

In light of this, health officials have called for thought to not only be given to the people suffering with depression but also the carers looking after them. Measures such as flexible working, extended leave or access to counselling services could be ways of helping individuals look after family members in their time of need.

Such measures have been welcomed by businesses, with those from all manner of sectors having said this would be something they'd happily consider rolling out. For all the good intention, though, precious few had made the leap and actually implemented such a scheme.

Commenting on the issue, health secretary Jeremy Hunt told telegraph.co.uk: "Dementia isn't just a health condition - it attacks the fabric of our society and can take a huge toll on the families and friends of those affected by the disease.

"I am urging everyone - families, communities and businesses to come together to ensure that people with dementia can continue to live fulfilling and rewarding lives."