If you feel someone you know is becoming more and more forgetful or is displaying some of the other signs associated with dementia, an important first step is to encourage them to see their GP.

Spotting the signs of dementia

Dementia is not a single illness, as a result, the symptoms someone exhibits can vary depending on the type of dementia that they have. Our article Dementia: spotting the signs contains information on the range of signs associated with dementia.

Encourage them to see a GP

Seeing a GP will make sure that the person is given the appropriate advice, support and treatment that they need, and it may also diagnose other treatable conditions that may be causing their symptoms. According to Dementia UK, treatable conditions that initially look like dementia but are not, include:

  • Depression
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Delirium
  • Thyroid problems
  • Infections
  • Vascular problems

Only a GP will be able to diagnose the cause of these signs, and only a GP can refer the person for assessment, which is why it's important that the person sees their doctor.

If they're reluctant to visit their GP

The idea of visiting your GP for a dementia diagnosis can be a frightening experience and as a result some people may want to delay finding out.

To help encourage them to see their doctor, you could offer to go to their GP with them, as they may find it reassuring to have another person present. This may also help if the person has difficulties taking in and remembering new information.

If, however, they are reluctant to see a doctor, you could try contacting their GP yourself either by letter, email or telephone to explain the situation and your concerns. Patient confidentiality means that they won't be able to discuss their patient with you, but they should welcome the relevant information.

Why it's important to get a diagnosis

Getting a timely dementia diagnosis is important, as according to the NHS, if dementia is detected early, in some cases its progress can be slowed and the person affected may be able to maintain their mental function for longer.

Getting a diagnosis can also ensure that the person is receiving the necessary treatment and will enable them and their family to get support and plans in place as early as possible.

How CABA can help

At CABA we're working in partnership with Dementia UK to provide ICAEW members and their families with access to the charity's specialist Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline. Call us on +44 (0) 1788 556 366 and ask us about our dementia support.

If you're caring for someone with dementia we have a range of support for you too. Find out how we can help by visiting our health and carer support page, or call us to speak to one of our carer support officers.

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