Son praises Sainsbury’s for keeping mother employed despite Alzheimer’s

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The son of a woman suffering from Alzheimer’s has praised Sainsbury’s for keeping his mother in a job as a grocery picker despite her illness.

Doron Salomon, 29, thanked the supermarket for the accommodations they made for his mother – whose identity the family wish to keep private – at work despite her condition.

This included changing her hours, organising regular welfare meetings with her husband, and even creating a role for her in the store that did not exist.

Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in late 2013, Mr Salomon’s mother, now 61 years old, had already been working for Sainsbury’s for 18 months when she was made aware of her illness.

Despite a medical exam rendering her unemployable in October 2017, the supermarket chain kept her on for a further five months and she completed her last day on Saturday.

Mr Salomon, from north-west London, described the supermarket as handling the situation with “sensitivity, kindness and care”.

He told the Press Association: “I imagine Sainsbury’s knew something was up quite quickly – but they were always so supportive.

“It never crossed their mind that she would be unemployable. It was always ‘what can we do to help her?’.

“Sometimes I would arrive early when going to pick her up from work. I would watch her across the shop and I could see how happy she was working there.

“There were so many times we expected her to be let go. My dad was called in on numerous occasions and every time we thought that would be the end. But it never was.”

Mr Salomon, whose mother used to be a bookkeeper, described her as having been a very organised and meticulous person before becoming ill.

“In my earliest memories of growing up, she just played the role of mum. Before I was born she used to work in fashion retail buying. She was always incredibly competent with numbers,” he said.

However, her family quickly began noticing small changes in her behaviour patterns and retention ability.

“We recognised quite early on that she had developed Alzheimer’s.

“However, trying to convince her that something was wrong was a difficult process. It is not easy to tell someone that they have a problem when they don’t believe they do.”

Commenting on his mother’s future, Mr Salomon said: “I think she is a little bit unsettled now she doesn’t have the job, but that’s just because she is used to her routine.

“My father is retired now, so it’s just about finding things to fill her day with.

“She seems pretty happy. She loves taking photos and still remembers how to use a camera, so I think she will be doing a lot more of that.

“It was Sainsbury’s decision for her to leave. I don’t think it was based on one incident or particular factor, I just think it had got to a stage where she was going in and doing nothing. They had put up with it for a compassionate length of time.”

A Sainsbury’s spokesman said: “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.”

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