I Am Worried About My Memory – What Should I Do?
It is easy to assume any problem with memory is dementia as it is so frequently in the press, on the news and the topic of documentaries, as well as forming major storylines in the soaps. While this exposure to dementia is great at raising awareness of those already living with dementia it also makes us all aware of dementia and therefore of our own behaviours and that of our loved ones.
Dementia Action Week is not only aimed at developing dementia friendly communities but also to open up conversation about what is now deemed to be the UK’s biggest killer.
Dementia is not a single illness but is an umbrella term for the symptoms which are caused by diseases which affect the brain. The most common disease is Alzheimer’s.
While memory loss is one symptom of dementia it is not the only symptom. Other symptoms of dementia include confusion and difficulties with problem-solving.
If you have concerns about dementia it is always worth speaking to your GP, particularly if it is beginning to affect your daily life.
Dementia is not something that comes to us all and is not a symptom of old age. There are many reasons your memory could be affected such as stress, depression or physical illness as well as certain vitamin deficiencies, amongst other things. Some of us also just have a bad memory and that is normal.
If you are worried your GP will be able to listen to your concerns and will either reassure you or they may arrange further investigation at a local memory clinic or a hospital specialist.
It is important to seek help as soon as you notice any changes as the sooner you seek help the sooner the help and support will be available to you. As with any disease, an early diagnosis is key in ensuring the right treatment and support is there for you and your loved ones.
Thanks to the work of the Alzheimer’s Society and Dementia Friends our society is becoming more aware of dementia and it is, therefore, more the case now than ever that support is there, and not just from health professionals, but within our communities. If for any reason you prefer not to speak to your GP about your worries you can obtain further information online on the NHS website or Alzheimer’s Society site, or call the Alzheimer’s Society’s National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 1122.
It is also incredibly important, if you are worried about your memory, to make sure your personal affairs are in order. As well as speaking to your GP, or seeking advice from a dementia helpline, you should also speak to a solicitor about your worries. A solicitor will be able to make sure you have the correct legal protection (usually via a power of attorney and ensuring you have a valid will) if there is any time in the future your ability to make decisions for yourself does become more problematic. By having these documents in place you maintain control in that you are making the decisions now about who can help you when if there is a time you cannot help yourself.