Worried about dementia?
Information and advice from Lymington Dementia Action Group.
What is dementia?
Dementia is not a normal part of ageing, and is not confined to the elderly. The term dementia describes a set of symptoms that occur when the brain is damaged by certain diseases, such as Alzheimers or a series of small strokes.
Symptoms of dementia
Everyone’s experience is different, but things to look out for include problems with:
- day-to-day memory
- concentrating, planning or organisation
- language e.g. struggling to find the right word
- judging distances and seeing objects properly (not caused by poor eyesight)
- orientation e.g. confusion about day or month or where you are
- changes in mood or emotions
These changes are often small to start with, but gradually they begin to affect daily life and family and friends may start to notice too.
Visit your GP and explain your concerns
First of all it’s important to rule out other conditions that may have similar symptoms and may be treatable, including depression, dehydration and urinary tract infections, etc. You may be asked to take a short memory test – a series of simple questions. If appropriate your doctor will then refer you to our local specialist dementia centre, the Becton Centre in Barton on Sea. Their specialists and memory nurses will carry out more testing and possibly a scan. Based on results combined with your medical history they will compile and make a diagnosis. You may then be given a prescription for medication, which can slow the progression of the disease. ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼
Getting a dementia diagnosis is a positive step
First of all, it allows you to take control of the situation rather than letting it control you. And it unlocks the door to legal, social and practical support, which will help you and your loved ones to live well, for longer. The good news is, there are people to help you with every aspect of coping with dementia. You don’t need to feel alone; there is support and help on hand.
Hampshire County Council funds the Dementia Advice Service for our area. When you receive your diagnosis you should be introduced to your local dementia advisor, who will ensure you have all the information you need. Dementia advisors provide one to one support, as confidential as you want it to be. They can arrange to visit you at home or if you prefer you can visit them at the regular local drop in session, where you can keep visiting again for as long as you need and as your needs change. They will also be available on the end of a telephone when you need more help.