Contrary to what many people think, dementia is not a disease itself.
Dementia is a term for the range of symptoms - such as loss of memory, language and other thinking abilities - that result from damage to the brain caused by different diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.
Dementia isn’t a natural part of getting older. And it’s important to talk to your GP as soon as possible if you’re worried about your memory or you are experiencing other symptoms.
Although dementia can affect people in different ways, there are some common early symptoms including:
- Memory loss
- Difficulty carrying out familiar daily tasks
- Difficulty concentrating
- Changes in mood
There are different symptoms depending upon the type of dementia-causing disease and you can find a longer list of symptoms on the NHS website.
There is no cure for dementia but lots of work is underway to help understand dementia-causing diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
If you are diagnosed with dementia, you will be given a care plan based on your individual needs. And we offer a range of support services to help you to continue living in your own home, at local care facilities or for shorter stays within our inpatient facilities.
Sometimes it may be necessary to use medication. You can see a list of medicines we might offer you on our Choice and Medication portal.
If you’re in a mental health crisis and need urgent help, call the Single Point of Access on (01472) 256256 and select option 3. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Alternatively, you can call NHS 111 free from a landline or mobile phone.
Our Older People’s Community Mental Health Team provides support within the community for both people with dementia and their carers.
If you think you’d benefit from getting support from the team, you should get in touch with your GP who will refer you to us. If you’re already under the care of another NAViGO service, you should speak to the person involved in your care.
If an elderly loved one’s mental health problems are particularly serious, they might benefit from a period of intensive assessment and treatment in our inpatient service. Discuss with your GP, care manager, community matron or district nurse about how we can support you.
We also run a number of groups for people with early onset dementia, as well as their carers.
Admiral Nurses: Registered nurses specialising in dementia.
Dementia UK: A national charity offering support and advice to families living with dementia
Carers UK: Useful information on how and where to get support.
AgeUK: Provide a range of advice and useful information as well as details of local support groups and activities.
Reading Well: Reading Well Books on Prescription recommends books you might find helpful if you have dementia or are caring for someone with dementia. A list of 37 books are available to borrow free from your local library.
Music for Dementia: Music for Dementia is a national campaign to make music available for everyone living with dementia.
Orcha Apps Library: This library lists thousands of NHS-approved health apps by condition, making it quick and easy for you to find support.