A grateful son has publicly thanked an 'outstanding' branch of Sainsbury's that helped his mother carry on working after her Alzheimer's diagnosis.
Doron Salomon, 29, praised employees at the Kenton store, in Nash Way, who showed "sensitivity, kindness and care" as his 61-year-old mum's health deteriorated.
In a Twitter thread, Harrow resident, Doron, wrote: "When my mum [who he has asked not to be named] 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.
"Whilst still perfectly able to contribute in a lesser skilled job, in mid-2012 she applied for and was offered a job at a Sainsbury's as part of their in-store 'picker' team, putting together people's online orders for delivery.
"Medically, she was fine even if staff may have quickly realised something was up. Since being diagnosed late in 2013 Sainsbury's were made aware of every medical update and have been outstanding ever since.
"[The team at] 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."
Doron explained that Alzheimer's started to affect his mum in her early 50s, and was eventually diagnosed in late 2013, adding: "Alzheimer's, for those that aren't aware, is more than just memory loss.
"It impacts social skills, mood, increases disorientation, exaggerates emotions, can make you aggressive, increases tiredness, loss of language, inability to make decisions etc."
But the Kenton Sainsbury's, he said, offered his mum regular retraining, changed her hours, had regular welfare meetings with her and his dad, ensured her colleagues were aware of her condition so they were able to help her, and even created a role that didn't exist so that there was something in-store she could do despite the fact her job title has never changed from 'picker'.
Doron said: "Most recently this has involved giving her the task of cleaning the tote boxes (storage containers which staff already cleaned as part of their job).
'The most important job in the world'
"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.
"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.
"There have been so many times Sainsbury's could have let her go.
"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.
"In October 2017 my mum's occupational health assessment showed her Alzheimer's was now advanced, in essence, she was unemployable.
"Sainsbury's saw the report and we assumed it was the end of the line. It wasn't. They perservered and stuck by her once again.
"Nearly 6 months later, (Saturday, March 3) 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.
"This doesn't really do Sainsbury's justice but I wanted to publicly thank them on behalf of my family.
"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. Thank you."
'A much loved colleague'
A spokesman for Sainsbury's has replied to the son's show of gratitude.
They 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."
Doron also highlighted how early-onset Alzheimer's is not common and "is hard to get diagnosed", asking readers to donate to Alzheimer's Research UK .
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