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Just like any other condition, dementia can affect your ability to work.

You might have more trouble communicating, focussing and remembering tasks. With support, many people can keep working with dementia. Some people stay in the same job, and others keep working in a different role. Some people decide it's time to stop working.

How to decide about work

Deciding to stay in work or leave is a big decision. You don’t have to work it out alone. Before you choose:

  • talk about it with people you trust
  • talk to your doctor about:
    • if your symptoms affect your ability to do your job
    • if your symptoms could cause safety risks at work
    • whether your symptoms are getting worse
    • support you might need to keep working
    • your rights and entitlements in the workplace
  • talk to your union representative or an anti-discrimination advocate [NC1] about your options and your rights in the workplace
  • contact the free National Dementia Helpline for confidential information, advice and support.

For more help with work and your rights, contact:

Continuing at work

If you decide to keep working, you will need to tell your employer about your condition. They may ask you to do a medical test to see if you can still do your work tasks.

You and your employer could agree to:

  • regularly monitor your work situation
  • review how your dementia symptoms are affecting your work
  • adjust your work responsibilities, depending on how your symptoms change.

Employers must make reasonable adjustments to let a person with a disability do their work. Refusing to make reasonable changes is illegal discrimination.

Tips for handling tasks

To help you work with dementia, try:

  • setting a daily routine
  • using a diary, calendar or phone alerts to remind you of jobs to do and breaks
  • focussing on one task at a time
  • taking notes to remember details
  • making a how-to guide for yourself for common tasks.

You can share these strategies with your colleagues and employer to help them support you too.

Leaving work

If you choose to leave work, you have options for financial support.

Superannuation and insurance

If you have insurance, check it to see if it includes income protection or other support in this situation.

Talk to your superannuation company about whether you can get access to your super when you leave work.

The disability support pension

You may be eligible for a disability pension through Centrelink. Talk to Centrelink to find out what support you can get. They may ask for copies of doctors’ reports and tests. They may also contact your doctor to investigate further.

NDIS funding

If you’re under 65, you also may be eligible for support from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). NDIS funding can go towards essential support services to achieve your goals.

Maxine’s story

When Maxine was diagnosed with dementia, she couldn’t keep working as a physiotherapist. So she found a new way to stay active and help people. See how she did it in this video.

Maxine's story - Making the most of life with dementia
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Last updated
13 December 2023