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For Patients & Carers

I'm worried about dementia.  If you are concerned that you or someone you care for might be suffering from dementia you should go to your GP in the first instance.

Memory services are available across NHSGGC. Your GP or Community Nurse will be able to help you to access these services so please ask.

You can also get help and advice from NHS inform on 0800 22 44 88 or at www.nhsinform.co.uk

Who has dementia? There are about 60,000 people with dementia in Scotland today. Within 25 years the figure is likely to increase by 75%. It will probably touch all of our lives at some point.

What is dementia? Dementia is an illness of the brain. When someone has dementia, brain cells are damaged and die faster than normal. The brain does not work as well as it should. Often the illness affects memory first. The person may become confused about where they are, what day it is and who people are. Someone with dementia will often repeat actions and questions. Gradually the person can begin to lose the ability to do everyday tasks. Eventually, they may not be able to do even basic tasks like eating, dressing and going to the toilet. Their personality may change but the person is still there beneath the illness. People can live with dementia for many years - with changing needs.

Can I reduce my risk of dementia? You may be able to reduce your risk of developing dementia in later life by:

  • eating healthily
  • staying mentally active
  • keeping physically active
  • maintaining your social networks

Can I get support if I am a patient or carer?

  • Alzheimer Scotland have a website www.alzscot.org and a free 24 hour Helpline 0808 808 3000.
  • Age Concern & Help the Aged can be reached on 0845 833 0200
  • There are support services in your area. To find out more you can telephone your local council.

How can I help? Looking after someone with dementia can be very demanding, stressful and exhausting. You can give support by offering practical help, for example with shopping, or simply by taking the time for a friendly chat.

What can someone with dementia feel? Imagine if you were to lose the ability to say the right word or understand what was being said, eg when on holiday in a foreign country where you don't speak the language.
You may feel

  • frustrated,
  • angry and
  • look for help, perhaps someone to interpret for you.
  • You might not speak at all and withdraw into yourself or
  • avoid situations where you have to communicate with people.

A person with dementia may also:

  • feel under pressure because they can't cope as well as they used to
  • feel that their independence and privacy are being taken away
  • think that they are being judged for making a mistake
  • be frightened by too much noise, too many people or a change to their routine
  • may already have poor hearing and eyesight which can be made worse by their dementia

Actions speak louder than words! A smile, touch or gesture can be just as important in getting the message across and showing that you care. Sometimes holding the person's hand when you talk can be very reassuring.

Click on the following link and read an Evening Times article about a  film which has been produced. The film gives a moving account of a family who struggle to cope with a father's dementia.  It is to be shown worldwide to help doctors, carers and the public understand the condition.
 Evening Times Article