If you or someone you know is worried about becoming increasingly forgetful, particularly if they're older than 65, you should talk to your doctor about the possibility of dementia.
Click here for information for people with dementia and their families and friends. This site aims to raise awareness of dementia, as well as help people create networks and better understand the impact of the condition.
There are also links to lots of information on dementia and sources of local and national support.
What are the signs of dementia?
Dementia is not a single illness, but a group of symptoms caused by damage to the brain.
You should look out for:
- memory loss, such as remembering past events much more easily than recent ones
- problems thinking or reasoning, or finding it hard to follow conversations or TV programmes
- feeling anxious, depressed or angry about memory loss, or feeling confused, even when in a familiar environment
If you're worried about someone who is showing the signs listed above, encourage them to visit their GP.
Why is it useful to get a dementia diagnosis?
If you're worried about your memory, it's well worth talking to your doctor. They may be able to reassure you that you don't have dementia.
But if you do have dementia, an early diagnosis may help you get the right treatment and support in place in good time.
Finding out sooner rather than later can also give friends and family valuable time to adjust, and can help them prepare for the future.
1. Dementia UK
2. Dementia Friends
3. Alzeimer's Society
4. Caring for someone with Dementia
5. Age UK
There are many diseases that result in dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. If you have been diagnosed with dementia your GP should provide you with more information about your specific diagnosis.
Who gets dementia?
Dementia mainly affects people over 65, but can affect younger people as well.
How is dementia treated?
The vast majority of causes of dementia cannot be cured. Nonetheless, there is a lot that can be done to manage symptoms and to live well with the condition.
Non-drug treatments can include information and advice, therapy, and memory services. You can speak to your GP, local memory clinic, or Alzheimer’s Society for more information.
Drug treatments can be prescribed in some cases.
Can you still live a normal life with dementia?
People with dementia can still live an enjoyable life, although the amount of support needed may increase as their dementia progresses. In time, many people suffering from dementia find it beneficial to have a caring arrangement – be it a trained carer or an informal carer, such as a family member. This is something you can discuss with your GP.
It’s important that those that have dementia still live a healthy and active lifestyle, and that they take part in the activities and hobbies that they enjoy. Dementia does not mean you need to give up the things you enjoy! Some support and assistance can facilitate living a normal life without stopping doing the things you enjoy.
Can you drive with dementia?
A dementia diagnosis does not automatically mean you can no longer drive. What is important, however, is that you are able to drive safely, and there are some legal matters to address. Dementia is listed as a medical condition the DVLA needs to know about immediately. Not telling the DVLA puts you at risk of a fine and prosecution. You will also need to notify your car insurance provider.
Everybody with dementia eventually loses the ability to drive safely, although how long this takes will vary. It is critical that you are honest with yourself about your ability to drive safely, and that you stop driving sooner rather than later. You should listen to the advice of your GP and those who are close to you.