Advice if you’re worried about dementia

As you get older, you may find that memory loss becomes a problem. It’s normal for your memory to be affected by:

  • age
  • stress
  • tiredness
  • certain illnesses
  • medications

But, dementia is not part of the normal aging process. It’s a group of symptoms that indicate problems with the brain. One of the most common symptoms of dementia is memory loss.

If memory loss affects your daily life, or is worrying you or someone you know, you should speak to your GP.

Your GP will discuss the possible causes of memory loss with you, including dementia.

If dementia is detected early, in some cases its progress can be slowed. Sometimes the person affected may maintain their usual quality of life.

Symptoms of dementia to be aware of

Memory loss is one of the key symptoms of dementia.

Other symptoms to look out for are:

  • growing difficulty with tasks and activities that need concentration and planning
  • depression
  • changes in personality and mood
  • periods of confusion
  • difficulty finding the right words
  • problems with spatial awareness
  • visual disturbance or losing peripheral vision that might affect how you see and recognise objects

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, speak to your GP as soon as possible. If you’re worried about someone else, try to encourage them to speak to their GP.

How to talk to someone who you think might have dementia

Raising the issue of memory loss and the possibility of dementia can be difficult. Someone who is experiencing these symptoms may be confused, worried or struggling to accept their situation.

To get someone talking when you’re worried about their memory, try to:

  • have the conversation in a familiar, non-threatening environment
  • explain why talking is important and say you’re worried because you care
  • use examples to make things clearer
  • have an open conversation and be honest and direct – ask how they’re feeling about their memory
  • make a positive plan of action together

It’s important not to create a sense of “blame”. For example, avoid telling someone they couldn’t make a cup of tea. Instead, you could suggest that they seem to find it difficult to make a cup of tea.

Last updated:
27 May 2024