Dementia affects about 820,000 people in England, about 15,000 of whom are aged 65 or less. It is not a single illness but a group of symptoms caused by damage to the brain.
The most common cause is called ‘Alzheimer’s Disease’; another is vascular dementia which can develop following a stroke or if there is blood vessel damage that interrupts the supply blood to the brain. Dementia is not a normal consequence of growing old.
As we get older, many of us notice our brain is not as agile and our memory not as sharp as it used to be. It is quite a common observation but it can make us wonder if these memory problems could be an early sign of dementia.
The symptoms of dementia include:
- memory loss, such as remembering past events much more easily than recent ones
- problems thinking or reasoning, or finding it hard to follow conversations or TV programmes
- feeling anxious, depressed or angry about memory loss, or feeling confused, even when in a familiar environment
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. If it is diagnosed early enough, there are lots of things that can be done to help you overcome problems and improve the quality of your life.
Help and support available
Often people with dementia and their families feel isolated and do not know where to look for help and support. The good news is that you are not alone and there is help and support available. Much of it is about improving the quality of life rather than simply medical care.
In Hampshire, the Local Authority has also recently launched the Dementia Advisory Service in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society and Andover Mind.
A new campaign has been launched by Hampshire Search & Rescue, Hampshire Constabulary and the Alzheimer’s Society aimed at vulnerable people who may go missing.
This is particularly relevant for people who care for people in their own home or who work with vulnerable people in residential settings.
Aims of the Service
- To focus on the well being and empowerment of the person with dementia and their carers so as to build resilience and independence in dealing with the dementia.
- To maximise the outcomes for the person with dementia and their carers by providing timely and tailored information, signposting and support.
- To minimise the number of interventions required by the person with dementia and their carers.
- To support service users in future planning to meet their changing needs.
- To actively promote the principle of early diagnosis with key partners such as the Memory Service, GP’s and other health and social care professionals.
- To reduce the stigma attached to dementia.
The service is open to anyone with a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of dementia, their families and carers.
An advisor will ensure that everyone accessing the service will receive an information pack, a follow up meeting within 4 weeks and support thereafter as required.
Telephone – 02392 892034