I’m worried a family member has dementia-what should I do?
Over the years, dementia has been a problem that has grown and grown. There are several reasons for this, but it is mainly because we are becoming an ageing society, with many of us living much longer than we may have lived decades ago.
The first sign that someone in your family has dementia is that they have become more forgetful; however, it is essential to recognise that memory loss is not always dementia; other things can cause this to happen.
However, if it is dementia and it is found early enough, then the progress of the disease can be slowed down; this will help them keep their mental function regular for longer and keep the person they love with them as long as possible too.
What are the signs of dementia?
As we have mentioned, memory loss is not always dementia. So, to help you, we have put together some of the main signs of dementia. These include:
Personality and mood changes
Not being able to understand the flow of conversations easily or showing difficulty in finding the right words
Issues with a variety of tasks that require concentration
What should I do next?
If you think someone you care about has dementia, you may want to try and get them booked in to see a GP as early as possible. It is best to speak to them about this before you go ahead and book a GP appointment. That way, they won’t feel you have gone behind their back.
You should suggest that you are happy to go with them to the appointment. This is because you will be able to support them at what could be a difficult time. Not only this, but if they are having trouble recalling the symptoms, you can help them too.
During the appointment, the GP will want to know how the symptoms the person is showing have developed over time; they may also want to do a physical examination and a memory test. They may even suggest that a blood test is carried out as this can pinpoint other issues that could be causing the memory decline.
If there are no other apparent reasons for the memory loss, and dementia is suspected, then the GP will want to refer the person to either a memory clinic or another specialist service; this will help to confirm whether dementia is the issue. It may also highlight what can be done to help the person recover the best they can.
The main thing to try and remember is that the person that has dementia, or that you suspect has dementia, is still the person that you know. You need to approach them with patience and kindness and be with them, at their side, even when things are getting tough.