This year Dementia Week in the UK runs from 19th – 23rd May. In support of all the activities happening up and down the country we look at memory clinics; what they are and how they are specifically set up to diagnose and support people affected by dementia.
Around 800,000 people In the UK today are affected by dementia. The term dementia describes a group of related symptoms that all point to the loss of function in the way our brain’s work, affecting:
- Thinking speed
- Mental agility
As we get older, our risk of dementia increases and the symptoms usually appear in people over the age of 65. Early diagnosis is the key to the condition’s management, giving people more time to enjoy an independent life for longer.
Just because you’re a bit forgetful, doesn’t mean you have dementia; however, if you are worried at all your GP is the first port of call. They have a series of simple checks and, dependent on their assessment, they may refer you or your family member to a memory clinic.
Memory clinics offer assessments by specialists in neurology (the science and treatment of brain related conditions) alongside other experienced healthcare professionals who specialise in the diagnosis, treatment and support of sufferers and their families. The clinic has a wide range of tests to draw upon, which, alongside a memory test, may include a blood test to look for medical causes, a CT scan (computerised tomography), or an MRI scan (magnetic resonance imaging).
Getting an early diagnosis from a memory clinic can open the doors to vital support. Sadly, while there is no cure, the use of drugs early on can slow down the progression of symptoms. Depending on a diagnosis the memory clinic team will work with you and your GP to create the right plan for medication and support, helping you to stay independent for longer and living the life you want.
For more information and guidance on dementia diagnosis, care and training visit:
NHS Choices – ‘Getting a dementia diagnosis’ – find out more.
York Dementia Training – for carers and families looking after those suffering from dementia.
York care support organisations – get the support you need.
Contact us if you would like more information.