In support of Dementia Awareness Week (17-23 May), NHS Thurrock CCG is reminding residents to seek help from their GP immediately if they are concerned that a friend, relative or partner may be suffering from dementia.
A variety of factors can cause dementia including strokes to heavy drinking, but the most common form of dementia is Alzheimer's disease, which is caused by changes to the chemistry and structure of the brain, leading to the death of brain cells. 800,000 people in the UK are living with dementia, and Alzheimer's disease accounts for 520,000 of all cases.
Symptoms vary depending on what type of dementia a person has and what stage their condition has reached. One common symptom is memory loss. This could include problems remembering recent events, such as forgetting messages, or asking the same questions repeatedly. Medical advice is important, as memory loss is very common and may not be a sign of dementia.
Other symptoms may include:
• Finding it difficult to organise or plan simple tasks;
• Becoming confused in unfamiliar environments;
• Difficulty in finding the right words;
• Finding it hard to deal with numbers, including handling money in shops;
• Forgetting about recent conversations or events;
• Becoming slower at grasping new ideas;
• Showing poor judgement, or find it harder to make decisions;
• Losing interest in other people or activities;
• Unwilling to try out new things or adapt to change;
• Becoming depressed;
• Noticing a change in personality.
What help is available?
If you recognise these symptoms in yourself or someone you know, we strongly advise you to make an appointment with your GP as soon as possible.
Although, sadly, there is currently no cure for dementia, getting an early diagnosis can make a significant difference to the way the condition can be treated and the extent to which its symptoms can be managed.
You can also find out more about the condition, and about Dementia Awareness Week, by visiting the Alzheimer's Society website.
Are you a Dementia Friend yet?
The Dementia Friends drive is about giving more people an understanding of what dementia is and the small things that you can do to make a difference to dementia sufferers people.
Join Dementia Friends today and help create more communities that are dementia friendly. Go to www.dementiafriends.org.uk to find out more about Dementia Friends or to volunteer as a Dementia Friends Champion.