Dementia Action Week: Dr David Crichton

Dementia Action Week takes place between 17-23 May. Led by the Alzheimer’s Society, the national event sees the public coming together to take action to improve the lives of people affected by dementia.

Dementia is the name for a range of conditions which affect the brain by causing damage to the nerve cells. This prevents messages being sent to and from the brain effectively and can cause a range of symptoms including confusion, communication issues and memory loss.

There are many subtypes of dementia, but the most common are: Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia and mixed dementia.

One in three of us born in the UK will go on to develop dementia in our lifetime. With no current cure and only a few treatments available, people who get a diagnosis of dementia will be offered supportive care.

Regardless of which type of dementia is diagnosed and what part of the brain is affected, each person will experience dementia in their own unique way which means personalised care is needed.

If you or someone you know is showing symptoms associated with dementia it is important to visit your GP to be further assessed. Some other conditions may have similar signs and symptoms to dementia but are treatable if addressed. These could be things like thyroid problems, vascular problems, vitamin B12 deficiency, stress and depression.

If you contact a local practice about suspected symptoms of dementia, a healthcare professional will ask about your medical and family history. They may also screen for mental health and cognitive issues by asking a series of questions, testing your concentration, short term memory and assessing any change in mood and behaviour.

The doctor may also request some tests to rule out an alternative diagnosis. These usually include blood tests and sometimes a scan like an MRI or CT. They may also refer people to a specialist clinic for further assessment.

Young onset dementia can be due to genetic mutations, however in older age, most cases are not thought to be inherited and research suggests that you can help delay or prevent dementia by changing your lifestyle.

Everything that keeps your heart and body healthy can keep your brain healthy too. Eating a balanced diet, keeping hydrated, not smoking or drinking alcohol and staying physically active can all support in improving your brain health.

The NHS website has lots of information about dementia and for further support and advice about dementia and Alzheimer’s visit Dementia UK.

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with dementia take a look at the seven pieces of information you should expect to receive following a diagnosis and the discussing and planning support guide which has been developed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

To mark Dementia Action Week in Doncaster, the Health Bus is running a special dementia drop-in service at various sites across the town. The bus will have staff on board to provide information and advice on how to access care and support services, advice on benefits and lasting power of attorney, social activity groups, support for carers.

You can find the bus at:

Monday 17th May

Walkers Nursery’s, Mosham Road, Blaxton, Doncaster DN9 3BA

Tuesday 18th May

Sainsburys Edenthorpe, Thorne Road, Edenthorpe, Doncaster DN2 5PS

Wednesday 19th May

Markham Grange Garden Centre, Long Lands Lane, Brodsworth, Doncaster DN5 7XB

Thursday 20th May

Morrisons York Road, 171 York Road, Doncaster DN5 8XG

Friday 21st May

Lakeside Village Outlet Shopping, White Rose Way, Doncaster DN4 5PJ

If you are interested in finding out more about dementia come along and speak with people who can help.