A Leicester woman diagnosed with dementia is urging more people to go and see their GP if they are worried about their memory.
Irene Woodward (67) makes her plea in a video launched by NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland to mark Dementia Action Week on 21-27 May.
Irene first suspected she may have a problem with her memory when she kept forgetting what she had gone out for. She made an appointment to see her GP and was later diagnosed. In the video Irene says: “To get that diagnosis was so important to me, it helped me cope and put things in place that I needed to.
“It’s like a lot of things if you actually know your diagnosis you can get the help that’s available to let you lead your life, and a good life! I’m leading a good life, I’m happy; I’m still forgetting but what I forget I can try and get round and deal with, because there’s a big world out there to enjoy.”
In the UK, one person develops dementia every three minutes. In Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, there are 13,000 people living with dementia which is expected to rise in the coming years. Yet too many people living with dementia face the condition alone and excluded from society.
Dementia is not a natural part of ageing and doesn’t only affect older people. More than 40,000 people in the UK who have dementia are under 65.
During Dementia Action Week NHS CCGs in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are asking people to take small actions that will make a huge difference, such as picking up the phone and making an appointment with the doctor.
Girish Purohit, GP Lead for Dementia across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, adds: “Memory problems are one of a number of symptoms that people with dementia may experience. Others include difficulties with planning, thinking things through, struggling to keep up with a conversation, and sometimes changes in mood or behaviour.
“If you’re worried about your memory it’s really important that you go to see your GP. If you are worried about a family member or someone you care for, you can support them to make an appointment, and ideally go along with them.
“Although there is no cure for dementia at present, if it’s diagnosed in the early stages, there are ways to slow it down. Dementia gets worse with time, so seeing a doctor as soon as possible is vital.”
ELR CCG together with health and social care partners across Leicester and Leicestershire, commissioned the Alzheimer’s Society to provide a new single-point support service for people living with dementia, their families and carers in October last year.
To find out more information or to access the service, contact The Alzheimer’s Society on 0116 2316921 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.