The Dementia Challenge
What is dementia?
The term ‘dementia’ describes a set of symptoms that include memory loss, mood changes and problems with communication and reasoning. There are several diseases and conditions which cause dementia, for example Alzheimer’s disease and vascular disease - a series of small strokes. Dementia is a progressive condition, meaning that symptoms will gradually get worse, although the rate and severity of progression is different between people with the same condition.
How common is it?
There are currently around 670,000 people with dementia in England, but 350,000 of those people remain undiagnosed. In Telford and Wrekin we think there are between 1700 and 1800 people living with dementia, with around half of these yet to be diagnosed.
Why is early diagnosis important?
We would encourage anyone with symptoms to seek support. Early diagnosis is known to be important to both the person living with dementia and to their support and carer network. There may be medication or simple activities that can help someone living with dementia to remain healthy and independent for longer.
What should I do if I think I have symptoms of dementia?
Your GP is the first point of contact for any health issues. Make an appointment to discuss your health – you may find it helpful to be accompanied by a family member or person who knows you well and your GP will encourage this.
What happens next?
Your GP will take a general health history and discuss with you any symptoms associated with dementia. You may be referred for a scan and have blood tests done. This is to rule out any physical health problem and to help with accurate diagnosis. Your GP may refer you to a memory clinic where you will see a specialist nurse or doctor, or your GP may decide to keep you under review themselves for a period of time. It is usual to have a number of appointments over time before a diagnosis is made, this is to make sure the diagnosis is accurate.
What support is available once I am diagnosed with dementia?
Once you are diagnosed your GP or staff at the memory clinic may refer you to other professionals or organisations who can help you. The Alzheimer’s Society provides a wealth of information and resources for both the person living with dementia and their carers and family members. Click the link to go to the website: www.alzheimers.org.uk
Look out for the Alzheimer’s Society dementia bus coming to Telford and Wrekin in the New Year:
7th January – 10.00am until 3.20pm at Waitrose Car Park, Newport
8th January – 10.00am until 3.30pm Asda Superstore, Donnington Wood, Telford
This will provide you with information about; Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia; memory worries; living well with dementia; caring for someone with dementia; support in your area.
Dementia Awareness Week 2015 - Mon 18th May - Sun 24th May 2015
Dementia Awareness Week is supported by the Alzheimer's Society. The Alzheimer's Society is a UK charity which provides support and research for those affected by dementia.