Remember that many conditions have symptoms like dementia, so it is important not to assume that someone has dementia just because some of the above symptoms are present. Strokes, depression, excessive long-term alcohol consumption, infections and many other disorders, can all cause dementia-like symptoms. Many of these conditions can be treated. Read more about Alzheimer’s & Dementia care. It is also increasingly apparent that we may be able to prevent the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and slow down, or even reverse, the process of deterioration. See our article ‘Six steps to reduce your risk of getting dementia’
If you think that you or your relative are showing early signs of Dementia, you should consult your GP for an assessment. Your loved one may be resistant to the idea of visiting a doctor and they may be in denial that there is anything wrong. It may be a good idea to find another reason for a visit to the doctor. Perhaps suggest a check-up for a symptom that the person is willing to acknowledge, such as blood pressure, or suggest a review of a long-term condition or medication.
After considering the person’s symptoms and conducting various tests, the doctor may offer a preliminary diagnosis or refer the person to a Cognitive Dementia and Memory Service (CDAMS) clinic, neurologist, geriatrician or psychiatrist.
Mental Health Services for Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire are provided by the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. In Berkshire, they are provided by the Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. Support includes both a community mental health team as well as a memory clinic. See our article ‘How much help can you get from the NHS?’
For anyone whose loved one is diagnosed with dementia, there are excellent resources available. See below for links to the Alzheimer’s Society introductory video and their very comprehensive guide on caring for someone with Dementia. There are also some excellent videos and leaflets available via Dementia UK.
Mental Health support