News story

Spotting the signs of dementia

A new campaign to raise awareness of the early signs and symptoms of dementia has being launched.

Aimed at encouraging more people to seek an early diagnosis of dementia, the campaign targets the family and friends of people at risk of dementia who are likely to be the first to see the signs and can encourage their loved one to see their GP.

Dementia is a group of symptoms caused by specific brain disorders. The most common cause is Alzheimer’s disease, but it can also be the result of a stroke or mini-strokes.

Dementia is progressive, which means that the symptoms will get worse over time. It can happen to anyone and there is currently no cure, but treatments can slow the progression of the disease. There are also ways to help keep it manageable.

An early diagnosis can help people with dementia get the right treatment and support, and help those close to them to prepare and plan for the future. With treatment and support, many people are able to lead active, fulfilling lives.

With many people seeing relatives at Christmas, the timing of the campaign aims to encourage people to look for signs of dementia in their relatives . The Alzheimer’s Society had 43 per cent more calls to its helpline in January this year than in December 2010.

A TV advert and leaflet(PDF) have been developed. The TV advert tells the story of a daughter as she becomes aware that her dad is struggling in a number of situations, such as leaving pans on the hob and forgetting where his car is parked. While accepting it was a hard issue to raise with him, the message is that acting on her concerns and getting help means she can keep the dad she knows for longer.

Useful links

Dementia resources

Alistair Burns dementia blog

Dementia content on NHS Choices

Alzheimer’s Disease International

Alzheimer’s Research UK

Dementia Action Alliance

Dementia UK

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