As families meet up the Alzheimer’s Society is offering advice on recognising early signs of dementia in a loved one.
While many realise that repeatedly forgetting names can be a red flag for dementia, few know that using repetitive phrases can also be a sign.
Stuttering or mispronouncing words is another warning.
There are around 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK. And 225,000 more people will develop dementia this year – that’s one every three minutes.
A YouGov survey of more than 4,000 adults reveals many people are confused about what are and are not signs of dementia.
Many people thought that forgetting why you have walked into a room (39%) might be a sign, which could happen to anyone. For a person with dementia, it is not so much why they walked into a room that is troubling, but the room itself seeming unfamiliar.
Seek medical advice if your memory loss is affecting daily life and especially if you:
struggle to remember recent events, although you can easily recall things that happened in the past
find it hard to follow conversations or programmes on TV
forget the names of friends or everyday objects
cannot recall things you have heard, seen or read
lose the thread of what you are saying
have problems thinking and reasoning
feel anxious, depressed or angry
feel confused even when in a familiar environment or get lost on familiar journeys
find that other people start to notice or comment on your memory loss
The risk of dementia increases with age with one-in-six of those over 80 having the degenerative disease. But it can strike even in middle age.
Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society, said: “We know dementia is the most feared illness for many, and there’s no question that it can have a devastating impact on people, their family and friends.”
“It’s important we tackle confusion around what are and aren’t signs of dementia, and help give people confidence in approaching loved ones about their concerns so people don’t delay getting help.”
“Dementia can strip you of connections to the people you love, but we have many services that can help stop that and support you.”