A third of those who have noticed symptoms of dementia in themselves or a loved one are waiting over a month to discuss the matter, according to a new survey.
Marking Dementia Action Week 2023, the Alzheimer’s Society’s survey found just 15% of those with concerns over symptoms brought the issue up straight away. What’s more, 11% still haven’t raised their worries after spotting the first symptom.
The Alzheimer’s Society says this delay is having a knock-on impact on how soon people are able to get help as 23% waited over six months before they spoke to a medical professional.
According to the survey, confusing dementia symptoms with normal ageing was the top reason people stayed silent (64%).
This was followed by not wanting to worry their loved one (33%), and fears of how their relationships might change (16%).
Worryingly, the survey of more than 1,100 people, showed there is still a fear of stigma – 44% said they were scared people would speak down to them or their loved one after they were diagnosed, or treat them like a child.
All of this reinforces the importance of the ongoing campaign ran by the Society: “It’s not called getting old, it’s called getting ill.”
This encourages people who are worried about their memory, or the memory of someone close to them, to seek support in getting a diagnosis, using a “symptoms checklist”, which is available through the Society’s online hub.
“We can’t continue to avoid the ‘d’ word – we need to face dementia head on,” said Kate Lee, CEO of Alzheimer’s Society, adding:
“The focus of Dementia Action Week is to inform everyone to know there is support out there if [they are] confused about symptoms, or don’t know how to have that first tricky conversation.”
In the UK, one person develops dementia every three minutes – that means that by 2040, 1.6m people will be living with the condition.
Resident doctor on ITV’s Lorraine and Good Morning Britain, Dr Amir Khan, said:
“A third of us will go on to develop dementia in our lifetimes – we need to change the idea that getting dementia is inevitable as we age – it’s not called getting old – it’s called getting ill
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