Everybody forgets things from time to time and many people find that their memory becomes less reliable as they get older.
Warwickshire County Council is raising awareness of dementia, how to spot the early signs and the support available for people diagnosed with dementia.
Stress, anxiety, depression, certain physical illnesses, infections and vitamin and thyroid deficiencies are just a few of the things that can make memory worse. However, if your memory is getting noticeably worse, or affecting everyday life, please book an appointment with your GP as it may be a sign of dementia, and help, support and treatment is available. Almost half of Warwickshire residents with dementia are undiagnosed meaning they cannot access information and support available to them.
Councillor Margaret Bell, portfolio holder for Adult Social Care and Health at Warwickshire County Council said: “During World Alzheimer’s Month, we want to encourage people who may be experiencing issues with their memory to seek help and visit their GP. Seeking early help and diagnosis is important as there may be support or treatment available that can help to improve symptoms and slow down the effects of dementia. Your GP will be able to talk to you about your concerns and may refer you on for further assessment to obtain a more certain diagnosis.”
There are many benefits to receiving an early diagnosis; it can help you and your family to understand your symptoms and help you to make plans for, and choices about your future. Some of the main benefits of an early diagnosis include:
- An explanation for symptoms that may have been worrying you or your family
- Access to treatments that can improve symptoms and slow down the effects of the disease. Treatments are usually more effective the earlier they are started.
- Access to advice and support. Individuals diagnosed early in the disease process can take advantage of early-stage support groups and learn tips and strategies to better manage and cope with the symptoms of the disease.
- Time to prepare for the future and plan ahead. An earlier diagnosis enables the person to participate in their own legal, financial, and long-term care planning and to make their wishes known to family members. It also allows the person the opportunity to prioritise how they spend their time – focusing on what matters most to them – perhaps completing life goals such as travel, recording family history, completing projects, or making memories with grandchildren while they still can.
Councillor Margaret Bell added, “In Warwickshire, there are many sources of support and services for people who are seeking a diagnosis of dementia, who have been referred for a diagnosis or who are living with dementia”.
Dr Sukhi Dhesi, Vice Clinical Chair at NHS Coventry and Warwickshire CCG concluded: “It is normal to forget things once in a while as we age however serious memory problems can make it hard to do everyday things. If you are concerned about your memory or the memory of a loved one then seek professional help. There can be various reasons why people experience memory problems and recognising that there may be a problem will help you to access the right support.”
There are two key routes to finding out about services in your local area:
1. Dementia Connect in Warwickshire service.
Access to support from a Dementia Advisor who can provide a range of support as well as information on all of the local services in your area.
Tel: 0333 150 3456 or Email: email@example.com
2. Warwickshire’s Living Well with Dementia Website
A resource with a range of information about dementia, a map of services at district and borough level with details of all of the services in the area.
Further details about services, support and living well with dementia can be found throughout the Warwickshire’s Living Well with Dementia website, or by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information if you have worries about your memory, visit the Alzheimer’s Society website: www.alzheimers.org.uk/memoryworry
Find out more about the benefits of early diagnosis, www.nhs.uk/conditions/dementia/early-diagnosis-benefits
For tips and advice about healthy ageing and tips to keep yourself mentally alert, visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/falls-prevention/brain-training