Time to talk about dementia

Time to talk about dementia

We are all living longer, increasing the chances of our lives being affected by dementia.

Whether it is you, a family member or a friend the likelihood is that someone close to you will develop dementia in their life-time. That is why NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is supporting Dementia Awareness Week 2014 (18-24 May) and encouraging local residents to have conversations about dementia.

Dementia describes different brain disorders that trigger a loss of brain function. Dementia is not a natural part of ageing; it is caused by different diseases of the brain, Alzheimer’s disease being the most common. Other types of dementia include vascular dementia and mixed dementia. These conditions are all usually progressive and eventually severe. Symptoms can include memory loss, difficulties with thinking, reasoning or language, and sometimes changes in mood or behaviour, but dementia affects everyone differently.

Some things to look out for are:
• Struggling to remember recent events or people’s names
• Finding it hard to follow conversations or TV programmes
• Repeating yourself or losing the thread of what you’re saying
• Difficulty concentrating, thinking things through or following instructions
• Feeling confused even when in a well-known place
• Becoming unusually anxious, depressed or agitated.

One in three people over age 65 will develop dementia but younger people (under 65) can develop it too.

If you’ve noticed that you’re unusually forgetful or confused – or someone else has – talk to your GP sooner rather than later. Tell your doctor what problems you have been having and how often they occur. If you think somebody close to you may have dementia it is important to talk to them about your concerns and encourage that they to speak to their GP.

It is possible to live well with dementia; a wealth of support and advice is available to help individuals and loved ones after diagnosis.

A spokesperson for NHS West Lancashire CCG said: “Loss of memory and practical abilities can affect your day-to-day life which can lead to withdrawal from social activities. If these problems start to have an impact on your daily life or you recognise these problems in someone else, you should talk to your GP or encourage them to talk to theirs as soon as possible.”

Libraries in Skelmersdale, Upholland and Tarleton will have Alzheimer’s Society information displays throughout the week.

The Alzheimer’s Society roadshow bus, where people can get information and support, will be at the Concourse, Skelmersdale on 20 June between 10:00am and 4:00pm.

Details of Dementia Cafés in West Lancashire, where people can learn more about the illness can be found here.

To find out more about dementia, visit www.alzheimers.org.uk or www.nhs.uk/Conditions/dementia-guide