Department of Health & Alzheimer’s Society launch Dementia Early Signs and Symptoms campaign

Did you know that only around 40% of those in the UK with dementia (Alzheimer’s disease) or other forms have actually received a diagnosis?

There are two problems that are causing this low diagnosis rate:

  1. People don’t know what the difference between symptoms of dementia and old age are.
  2. There is a huge stigma attached to dementia, so people don’t want to be diagnosed.

To help with this, the department of health are launching a campaign to help get more people diagnosed early. The campaign starts on 21st September 2012. When trying to get a diagnosis of dementia early signs are key.

Getting an early diagnosis is actually one of the best things that could possibly happen to someone with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. There are treatments available that can slow the progress of most dementias, and once a sufferer knows they can make sense of the symptoms they have been experiencing and most importantly – plan for the future.

So what are the signs and symptoms that someone may be developing dementia?

  • Struggling to remember recent events, although you can easily recall things that happened in the past
  • Finding it hard to follow conversations or programmes on TV
  • Forgetting the names of friends or everyday objects
  • Cannot recall things you have heard, seen or read
  • Repeating yourself or losing the thread of what you are saying
  • Having problems thinking and reasoning
  • Feeling anxious, depressed or angry about your memory loss
  • Finding that other people start to comment on your memory loss
  • Feeling confused even when in a familiar environment.
To this list I would also add the following from my personal experience of my Father’s dementia:
  • Poor road positioning and difficulty negotiating roundabouts when driving
  • Getting confused at the cinema: no longer enjoying films due to an inability to follow the story
  • Repeatedly walking into a room and not knowing why you are there
  • Getting lost while travelling routes you travel regularly (walking, cycling or driving)

So, the key message is – if you are worried about a relative (or you are worried about yourself) then get it dealt with asap. There are tips about how to approach the subject and discuss it on the Alzheimer’s society website: www.alzheimers.org.uk/toptips