Don’t delay if you have big concerns about dementia

NORTHUMBERLAND residents are being urged by Alzheimer’s Society staff to visit their GP if they are worried about their or a family member’s memory problems as calls to its helpline have surged by a third in the first few weeks of 2014.

The charity has started the New Year by sending out Worried about your memory? information leaflets to GP surgeries across the county, including Morpeth and Ponteland, to help raise public awareness and ensure the right support is available.

Dementia describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language.

It affects sufferers in different ways, but people should seek medical advice if they notice some or all of the following: struggle to remember recent events, although they can easily recall things that happened in the past, find it hard to follow conversations or programmes on television, forget the names of friends or everyday objects, notice that they repeat themselves or lose the thread of what they are saying, find that other people start to comment on their forgetfulness, feel confused even when in a familiar environment.

North of Tyne interim operations manager for the Alzheimer’s Society, Danielle Hayes, said: “There is often a misunderstanding about dementia and its symptoms and people may delay seeking help when they are concerned about their memory problems.

“Spotting the signs of dementia as soon as they start and getting a diagnosis is vital. It allows people to access support and specialist services that they desperately need.”

The charity’s National Dementia Helpline number is 0300 2221122.