Dementia on the Job

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Old man with dementia or just an old man?

I like two things in this world: making fun of dopey people at work and fake hysteria.

CNN made me very happy when they published the article, “Aging workforce means dementia on the job could rise.

Awesome. Dementia could rise at work. Sweet. I’m already concerned for no apparent reason AND looking forward to making fun of people at the office.

But wait… CNN uses the word could.

  • Not will.
  • Not might.
  • Could.

So disappointing.

My favorite part of the article is this…

Memory loss isn’t the only warning sign, however. Others include difficulty with technology and new tasks, and personality changes such as becoming more withdrawn and less talkative. In some cases, people may become irritable or agitated, or may start to behave inappropriately

Okay, got it. Wow. But the warning signs of dementia could describe each and every one of you at some point in your career. It describes me, too.

  • Trouble with technology? Oh, like when I called the help desk because my printer wasn’t working. It turns out that it wasn’t plugged in because I had to make room to plug in my (illegal) space heater. Oops. My bad.
  • Difficulty with new tasks? Just like the time I was asked to put together a pivot table and had to ask my assistant to do it.
  • Personality changes? Does this include the time I lost my shit when I was asked to coordinate laser tag?
  • Withdrawn and less talkative? Hm. I would come to work hung-over after late nights with my co-workers — cosmetic chemists. Believe me, they know how to formulate shampoo AND make a drink 3x stronger than it should be. Evil geniuses.

Older workers present a unique set of challenges for the workforce. As the article points out, old people must work long past retirement thanks to George W. Bush and his crappy economic policies that decimated the middle class. (Oh no, wait, I said that.)

Anyway, it’s sad that dementia could increase at work… but the last thing you want is to suggest that an older, cranky worker who is bad with technology might have Alzheimer’s. That won’t work out in your favor.

And if you have time to meddle in the health issues of your coworkers, you have time to do something else.

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