Dementia Action Week runs from 20-26 May and Warwickshire County Council are using the opportunity to raise awareness of dementia and how to spot the early signs.

Everybody forgets things from time to time and many people find that their memory becomes less reliable as they get older. 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.

Helen King, Interim Director of Public Health at Warwickshire County Council said:

“During Dementia Action Week, 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:

  1. An explanation for symptoms that may have been worrying you or your family
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Helen King 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”.

There are three key routes to finding out about services in your local area:

1. Warwickshire’s  Dementia Navigator service.

Access to support from a dementia navigator who can provide a range of support as well as information on all of the local services in your area.

Tel: 01926 888899 Email: southwarks@alzheimers.org.uk

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: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/dementia

3. Information booklets available at district and borough council level.

For Northern Warwickshire contact: northernareateam@warwickshire.gov.uk

For Rugby contact: rugby@warwickshire.gov.uk

For South Warwickshire contact: southernareateam@warwickshire.gov.uk

An additional source of support for those living with or caring for someone with dementia is Dementia Friends. A Dementia Friend is a volunteer who has taken the time to learn more about what dementia is, how it affects people and the small things that can make a difference to the lives of people with dementia. Warwickshire now has over 25,000 Dementia Friends. If you would like to become a Dementia Friend, please visit www.dementiafriends.org.uk

Further details about services, support and living well with dementia can be found on Warwickshire’s Living Well with Dementia website, www.warwickshire.gov.uk/dementia or by emailing: dementiapartnership@warwickshire.gov.uk

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

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