Memory Loss and Dementia

Dementia is a syndrome associated with an ongoing decline of brain functioning. Early stage symptoms include memory loss, problems with thinking, poor orientation, changes in mood or emotion, visual-perceptual difficulties and problems with language/communication. There are many conditions which cause dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.

Many people at the early stage of dementia stay largely independent and only require a small amount of assistance with daily living. It is important to focus on what the person can do by themselves and seek assistance if needed. 

Early diagnosis of dementia can be very important as it can provide the opportunity for future care and treatment. It allows people plan while they are still able to make important decisions on their care and support needs and on financial and legal matters. It also helps them and their families to receive practical information, advice and guidance as they face new challenges.

The Very Brief Intervention section below is targeted towards improving early diagnoses and treatment.  This section also includes a section on dementia risk reduction.

Very Brief Intervention

Ask

How would you describe your memory at the moment?

Have you forgotten anything related to your normal day to day activities?

  • We all forget things from time to time but has this increased

How would you describe your ability to concentrate on daily or regular tasks?

How would you describe your ability to find the right words in your daily conversations?

Have you ever got lost in an area you know well? 

Can you remember events clearly from years ago but sometimes not remember who you saw this morning? 

Are there times where you have misplaced items that then turn up in strange places?

Can I ask you some questions about the person?

Have you noticed changes in your loved one's behaviour or personality?

Is your loved one asking the same question repeatedly or telling you the same thing over and over again?

Do you often find they have misplaced items that then turn up in strange places , i.e. your purse in the fridge or glasses in the microwave?

Are they unsure about typical tasks such as making a cup of tea? Getting dressed?

Do you often find that they can remember events clearly from years ago but can't remember who they saw this morning?

Assist

If the person is worried about their memory, or think they may have dementia, state that it's a good idea to see a GP. 

  • Reassure the person that getting a diagnosis gives you and your family the best chance to prepare for the future

If you are worried about the person

If you're worried about someone else's memory problems, encourage them to make an appointment with a GP and perhaps suggest that you go with them.

There here are lots of organisations who can help with support and advice, would you like some further information on this?

Act

National Support Services

Dementia Connect 

Dementia Connect, Alzheimer's Society's dementia support service, is free, easy to access, and puts you in touch with the right support. From local help to phone and online advice. 

Alzheimer’s Society’s dementia advisers can support you directly by phone or face to face, as well as connect you to a range of local services.

Web: Dementia Connect for healthcare professionals | Alzheimer's Society (alzheimers.org.uk)

The NHS

It's normal for your memory to be affected by stress, tiredness, certain illnesses and medicines. But if you're becoming increasingly forgetful, particularly if you're over the age of 65, it's a good idea to talk to a GP about the early signs of dementia. Memory loss can be annoying if it happens occasionally, but if it's affecting your daily life, or it's worrying you, or someone you know, you should get help from a GP. 

Web: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dementia/diagnosis/

 

The Alzheimer's Society

Alzheimer’s Society is the UK’s leading dementia charity. We campaign for change, fund research to find a cure and support people living with dementia today.

Web: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/

The dementia guide: Living well after your diagnosis

Caring for a person with dementia: A practical guide

Tel: Dementia Connect Support Line: 0333 150 3456

 

Other Key links

Dementia UK - Dementia Helpline (support from dementia specialist admiral nurses):  0800 888 6678

Tide - Together In Dementia Everyday: Telephone: 0151 237 2669 Email: Carers@tide.uk.net

Carers UK- Making life better for carers: Telephone: 020 7378 4999

 

Self Care

We can’t change our age or our genes, and there is currently no way we can completely prevent dementia. However, there are some simple steps we can all take to help lower our risk.

Risk factors for cardiovascular disease (like high blood pressure and stroke) are also risk factors for dementia, so what is good for your heart is good for your brain. Looking after your health, cutting out smoking and being physically active on a regular basis will help lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. It’s likely you’ll be lowering your risk of dementia too, particularly vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

For good heart health:

  • don‚Äôt smoke
  • keep cholesterol and blood pressure under control
  • be active and exercise regularly
  • maintain a healthy weight
  • eat a healthy balanced diet
  • drink fewer than 14 units of alcohol per week.

Web: https://www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/dementia-information/reducing-the-risk/

Herbert Protocol

The Herbert Protocol is a national scheme that encourages carers, family and friends to provide and put together useful information, which can then be used in the event of a vulnerable person going missing. 

Carers and / or relatives and friends can complete a form in advance, including important information about the missing individual such as the contact numbers, medication needed, locations the person was last seen and so forth also a photograph can be provided. 

West Yorkshire Police - The Herbert Protocol Missing Person Incident Form | West Yorkshire Police - For patients known to wander

South Yorkshire Police - Herbert Protocol - SYP (southyorks.police.uk)

North Yorkshire Police - Dementia and the Herbert Protocol - North Yorkshire Police | North Yorkshire Police

Humberside Police - The Herbert Protocol | Humberside Police

Please see below for more information and contact details in your local area. 

Local Support and Contact Details