Dementia fears confronted by campaign

Nearly two-thirds of people in the South East think a dementia diagnosis would mean their life is over*, according to research by the Alzeimer's Society.

Sunday, 22nd May 2016, 5:06 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 1:36 am
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The study also revealed that over half of people in the region are putting off seeking a demnetia diagnosis for up to a year or more**.

As part of a week to raise awareness of dementia this week, the Alzheimer’s Society has been calling on people to confront the disease and their fears head on and seek support.

An estimated 225,000 people in the UK will develop dementia this year, one person every three minutes, but many do not seek help due to misconceptions about the condition***.

According to the charity, those diagnosed promptly have a better chance of living well for longer, with access to the best possible treatment, information and support.

A lack of diagnosis also prevents people planning for the future while they still have capacity to make important decisions.

The YouGov research also reveals that there are still many myths that exist about dementia, which might put people off seeking a diagnosis – almost half of people in the South East (48%) thought they would have to immediately stop driving a car*.

More than one in three (38 per cent) of people said they would put off seeking medical attention from a GP about memory problems because they think dementia is just “a part of the ageing process”.

Chris Wyatt, Alzheimer’s Society Regional Operations Manager for the South East, said: “Too many people are in the dark about dementia – many feel that a dementia diagnosis means someone is immediately incapable of living a normal life, while myths and misunderstandings continue to contribute to the stigma and isolation that many people will feel. This Dementia Awareness Week, we want to reassure people that life doesn’t end when dementia begins.

“We know that dementia is the most feared health condition of our time and there’s no question that it can have a profound and devastating impact on people, their family and friends – but getting a timely diagnosis will enable people with dementia to live as well as possible.

“We want everyone to know that Alzheimer’s Society is here for anyone affected by the condition and there are lots of ways we can help you. It’s time for everyone to confront dementia head on.”

Alzheimer’s Society provides a range of services to support people affected by dementia. Call the National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 1122 or visit alzheimers.org.uk/DAW for more information.

*Figures, where stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 200 adults in the South East. Fieldwork was undertaken between 11th - 12th April 2016. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). A follow up survey about places people would turn to for emotional support/ help/ care was run. Total sample size was 2050 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 15th - 18th April 2016. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

**In a survey of 1,000 GPs by polling organisation medeconnect in the April 2016 omnibus, 43% (430) of GPs said that on average, when they diagnose someone with suspected dementia their symptoms have been going on for 7-12 months. 13% (129) of GPs said that, on average, the symptoms had been going on for 12 months or more. The survey included data from 132 GPs from the South East.

***A study published in October 2015 by Unforgettable.org found that public concern about dementia has risen by a quarter since 2012, with 80% of over-55s admitting to being scared of getting dementia.

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