Charity urges people in Leicestershire and Rutland concerned about memory problems to visit their GP

Alzheimer’s Society is urging those with concerns about their own, or someone else’s memory to visit their GP as soon as possible. The charity has seen calls to their National Dementia Helpline surge by a third at the end of 2013. Many of these calls are from worried relatives, who may have seen relatives or friends for the first time in months and noticed changes in behaviour.

Currently about half of people living with dementia have a diagnosis. In a bid to raise public awareness of the condition and encourage more people to seek help Alzheimer’s Society is sending ‘Worried about your memory?’ information leaflets to 9000 GP surgeries – including 136 in Leicestershire and 3 in Rutland.

Sally Grundy, Alzheimer’s Society Services Manager in Leicestershire and Rutland 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. It also means they can start to plan for the future.

‘If you noticed changes in a family member or friend this Christmas, are worried about your own memory or think someone might have dementia it’s important to know that there is help and support available. I would urge people to visit their GP and seek advice as soon as they can.'

Dementia describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease or a series of strokes. Dementia is progressive, which means the symptoms will gradually get

Dementia affects everyone in different ways, but people should seek medical advice if they notice that they:

• 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 TV
• forget the names of friends or everyday objects
• cannot recall things they have heard, seen or read
• notice that they repeat themselves or lose the thread of what they are saying
• have problems thinking and reasoning
• feel anxious, depressed or angry about their forgetfulness
• find that other people start to comment on their forgetfulness
• feel confused even when in a familiar environment.

The Alzheimer’s Society National Dementia Helpline number is: 0300 222 1122
You can also contact Alzheimer’s Society in Leicestershire and Rutland: 01162 311 111