Post-Christmas surge sees helpline busy.
Leading charity Alzheimer’s Society is urging those with concerns about their own, or someone else’s memory to visit their GP as soon as possible, as calls to their National Dementia Helpline surge by a third after Christmas. Many of these calls come from worried relatives, who may have seen relatives or friends for the first time in months and noticed changes in behaviour.
Currently only 48% of people living with dementia have a diagnosis. In a bid to raise public awareness of the condition and encourage more people to seek help Alzheimer’s Society is sending information leaflets to 9000 GPs in the UK.
‘Worried about your memory?’ leaflets will be sent to 216 GP surgeries in Birmingham to ensure that support is available for those that are worried about their own, or someone else’s memory.
David Ash, Regional Operations Manager for Alzheimer’s Society said: ‘There is often a misunderstanding about dementia and its symptoms, and people may delay seeking help when they are concerned about their memory problems. Spotting the signs of dementia as soon as they start, and getting a diagnosis is vital. It allows people to access support and specialist services that they desperately need. It also means they can start to plan for their future, and that of their family.
‘If you noticed changes in a family member or friend this Christmas, are worried about your own memory or think someone might have dementia it’s important to know that there is help and support available. I would urge people to visit their GP and seek advice as soon as they can.’
Dementia describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or a series of strokes. Dementia is progressive, which means the symptoms will gradually get worse.
Dementia affects everyone in different ways, but people should seek medical advice if they notice that they:
- struggle to remember recent events, although they can easily recall things that happened in the past
- find it hard to follow conversations or programmes on TV
- forget the names of friends or everyday objects
- cannot recall things they have heard, seen or read
- notice that they repeat themselves or lose the thread of what they are saying
- have problems thinking and reasoning
- feel anxious, depressed or angry about their forgetfulness
- find that other people start to comment on their forgetfulness
- feel confused even when in a familiar environment.
The Alzheimer’s Society National Dementia Helpline number is 0300 222 1122.