Most workplaces do not have the time or resources to accommodate employees with dementia – but this grocery store has received heaps of praise for going above and beyond for one of their 61-year-old workers.
Ms. Salomon had only been working at Sainsbury’s for a year when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Prior to the diagnosis, she had been forced to leave her job as a bookkeeper because she was becoming increasingly disorganized.
After quitting her bookkeeping career in 2012, Ms. Salomon applied for a job as a “picker” at the Sainsbury’s supermarket in Kenton, north London.
The job, which simply involved putting together online orders for customer pick-ups at the store, was easier for Ms. Salomon – but as the disease progressed, the store’s management began to suspect her medical condition.
Upon being informed of her diagnosis, however, the Sainesbury’s staffers started doing everything in their power to make sure that Ms. Salomon felt comfortable and valued.
“For context, Sainsbury’s has 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,” Ms. Salomon’s son Doron described in a now-viral Twitter thread. “They have always stood by her, going above and beyond to make sure she’s happy and feeling valued.”
For the next four years, Sainsbury’s did everything to keep Ms. Salomon on the team. They changed her hours; they stayed in constant contact with her family so they could provide updates on her condition at work; they regularly retrained her; and they kept her co-workers informed on her condition.
When the disease progressed to a more debilitating stage, Sainesbury’s even created an entirely new job for her as a “tote box cleaner”.
“To my mum, cleaning the tote boxes became the most important job in the world. If she didn’t do it the store would fall apart,” wrote Doron. “The sense of self-worth and pride [had] undeniably helped with aspects of her Alzheimer’s, such as giving her something to talk about in social situations.”
In 2017, Ms. Salomon’s received a medical assessment that said her Alzheimer’s had progressed to the advanced stage, and she was declared unemployable. Again, Sainsbury’s kept her on the team.
“There have been so many times Sainsbury’s could have let her go,” said Doron. “Instead, every time my dad was called in for a meeting, fearing the worst, it was because they had noticed a decline, were concerned about her, and wanted to know what more they could do to help.”
Ms. Salomon’s employment finally came to an end 6 months later, and though it was an emotional departure, she was also “relieved”.
“Senior management … acted with compassion and handled everything with class and dignity,” wrote Doron, thanking the store and adding that “they have been a fabulous employer, but more than that, on a human level, the people working at the Kenton store have shown sensitivity, kindness and care.”
Several months after Doron published the heartwarming story to his Twitter account last year, he also says that dozens of UK Sainsbury’s stores have held weekend fundraisers for Alzheimer’s awareness and research in Ms. Salomon’s honor.
Be Sure And Share The Sweet Story With Your Friends On Social Media – Photo by Doron Salomon