"Well done Sainsbury's"
For those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s – the most common type of dementia – coming to terms with the disease and its impact on both the personal and professional aspects of life can be an ongoing challenge.
The support of friends, family and also colleagues is crucial during this transition, and the heart-warming story of how one woman experienced this first-hand has been shared by her son.
Sports journalist Doron Salmon took to Twitter to reveal that his mother – who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in late 2013 – was treated with ‘compassion’ and ‘dignity’ by her employer, supermarket chain Sainsbury’s.
His mother first began experiencing symptoms of the disease while working as a bookkeeper and soon found that she struggled with the skills she needed to carry out her role.
‘When my mum first began to show signs of the disease she was working as a bookkeeper. Formerly a very organised person who was good with numbers it became obvious quite quickly she could no longer do her job effectively,’ he wrote on twitter.
In mid-2012 she was offered a role at Sainsbury’s, putting together people’s online orders for delivery. While she was ‘fine medically’ he went onto to outline that it soon became apparent to staff that ‘there was something up’. Revealing the amazing way the supermarket responded – which included regular meetings between supermarket bosses and her family – he continued, ‘Since being diagnosed late in 2013 Sainsbury’s were made aware of every medical update and have been outstanding ever since.
‘For context, Sainsbury’s have seen my mum deteriorate to the point that every day for the last year or so she has gone into the store confused, as if she’d never been there before.
‘They have always stood by her, going above and beyond to make sure she’s happy and feeling valued.’
He also explained just how much his mother cherished her new found role, ‘To my mum, cleaning the tote boxes became the most important job in the world,’ he continued.
‘If she didn’t do it the store would fall apart. The sense of self-worth and pride has undeniably helped with aspects of her Alzheimer’s, such as giving her something to talk about in social situations.’
‘Sainsbury’s saw the report and we assumed it was the end of the line. It wasn’t. They persevered and stuck by her once again,’ he explained.
‘Nearly 6 months later, yesterday was her last day. Even when they probably should have let her go they didn’t until now. My mum was emotional but relieved. Senior management have acted with compassion and handled everything with class and dignity.’
Responding to the story there was an outpouring of emotion from readers – and also from Sainsbury’s.
For more information and support visit www.alzheimers.org.uk or call the National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 11 22.
Wishing Doron and his mum all the best.