How Sainsbury's helped a woman with Alzheimer's keep working for years

Darin Graham@DarinJGraham
Monday 05 March 2018 14:30
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Picture:(DORON SALOMON)

A supermarket stood by a mum with Alzheimer’s, letting her continue working for years after she was diagnosed and as her condition deteriorated. Her son, Doron Salomon, shared the heart-warming story on Twitter on Saturday.

Doron’s mum, aged 61, first began to show signs of the disease around 10 years ago in her early 50s. Doron explained how his mum, who was working as a bookkeeper at the time, was very organised and good with numbers. But in 2013, she was eventually diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

It soon became clear she was no longer able to do her job effectively, but applied for and was offered a job at Sainsbury’s in Kenton as a picker. She would work with the online orders team and collect all the items ready for delivery.

Doron said Sainsbury’s were made aware of his mum’s condition and that they have been “outstanding ever since.”

Speaking to indy100, Doron said:

It's very heartening to know that people beyond family and friends care. Sainsbury's gave her a sense of importance and self-pride, they normalised her.

Her friends mostly all work and so for her to have that same routine of wake up - work - go home made her as normal as possible.

In his Twitter thread, he explained how Sainbury’s stood by his mum as she deteriorated “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.” He added:

They have always stood by her, going above and beyond to make sure she's happy and feeling valued.

On top of that, Sainsbury’s offered Doron’s mum regular retraining, changed her hours, held meetings with him and his dad, and made sure colleagues were made aware of the condition so that they could help her.

The supermarket even went on to create a role for her, to clean the tote boxes. It became the most important job in the store and Doron said the “sense of pride” helped his mum with different parts of her Alzheimer's - like giving her things to talk about socially.

Doron explained how every time his dad got a call from Sainbury’s, fearing they would be letting his wife go, the supermarket instead were calling out of concern and wanted to know how else they could help.

In October last year, a health assessment came back showing that Doron’s mum’s Alzheimers had advanced meaning she was unemployable.

But even after seeing the report, Sainsbury’s stood by her once again.

Six months later, last Friday was her last day (3 March). Doron told indy100:

In the end I think she was relieved to have been let go because she has reasonably advanced Alzheimer's now and it could sometimes become stressful for her but overall I think they've been incredible.

Doron said he decided to post his story on Twitter because his family wanted to publically thank Sainsbury’s for standing by his mum.

People are quick to complain and moan on social media so it's hopefully refreshing to know there's still a lot of good people and big corporations out there.

If it helps to raise awareness and encourages people to donate towards research then that's excellent.

A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s told indy100:

Doron’s mum was a much loved colleague and an inspiration to all of us. We’d like to thank her for her years of service and wish her all the best for the future.

Alzheimer's is a disease that is the most common cause of dementia, according to Alzheimer's Research UK. Dementia includes symptoms such as memory loss, difficulties with thinking, problem solving and language. It can also affect social skills, mood, orientation and emotions. You can donate to Alzheimer's UK here.

More: This heartbreaking picture shows the reality of dementia

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