The term 'dementia' is used to describe the symptoms that occur when the brain is affected by specific diseases and conditions.
Symptoms of dementia include loss of memory, confusion and problems with speech and understanding.
Symptoms and diagnosis
Many of us notice that our memory gets worse as we get older, but it can be difficult to tell whether this is a sign of an underlying condition like dementia.
Diagnosing dementia is often difficult, particularly in the early stages. The GP is the first person to consult. The GP may then refer the person being diagnosed to a specialist consultant.
Becoming forgetful does not necessarily mean that you have dementia. Memory loss can be an effect of ageing. It can also be a symptom of stress or depression.
The Alzheimer’s society has information on the different types of dementia including vascular dementia, rarer causes of dementia and how dementia progresses.
Living with dementia
A diagnosis of dementia can come as a shock. Even if you have been half expecting it, this will be a worrying and upsetting time. It can also be hard for those close to you.
However, there is much that you can do in the early stages that can help to make life easier and more enjoyable, both now and in the future.
Dementia Connect is the Alzheimer's Society's personalised support and advice service for people with all types of dementia, their families and carers.
How to get help for dementia
Memory in Beds has a list of local services in Bedford Borough.
Have a read of the guides and information about living with Dementia and the practical things you or your loved ones can do to live a Dementia-friendly life.
Caring for a person with dementia
When a person with dementia finds that their mental abilities are declining, they often feel vulnerable and in need of reassurance and support.
The people closest to them, including their carers, friends and family, need to do everything they can to help the person to retain their sense of identity and feelings of self-worth.
The Alzheimer’s Society has information about many aspects of caring for a person with dementia. A useful starting point is their factsheet: Understanding and supporting a person with dementia
Carers may find that they also need support and help themselves during this difficult time. Support is available from Carers in Bedfordshire.