There are approximately 20,400 individuals living with dementia in Northern Ireland and this figure is set to increase to 60,000 by the year 2051.
Despite many awareness raising activities in recent years on the issue of dementia, approximately 30% of people living with dementia in the Western Trust area remain undiagnosed with the disease.
A diagnosis leads to a pathway which provides information, care and support services.
To coincide with World Alzheimer’s Day on the 21 September 2017, the Western Trust, in partnership with Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Dementia NI, Alzheimer’s Society and South West Age Partnership are working collectively to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of dementia and to encourage people to visit their GP if they have concerns.
The week long campaign is also aimed at friends and relatives who may have noticed changes in the memory or behaviour of someone they know. Assessment by a GP or the memory assessment service, is important to rule out other common treatable problems which can affect memory.
Some of the signs and symptoms of dementia include:
- Difficulty concentrating and planning things
- Memory loss and confusion
- Short attention span
- Lack of motivation
- Personality, mood and behavioral changes
- Sight and visual difficulties
- Delusions or hallucinations
- Muscle weakness, stiffness, or paralysis
- Slow and unsteady movements
- Trembling in arms and legs
- Sleeping difficulties
Geraldine Brown Assistant Director of Secondary Care for the Western Trust said: “With a staggering 30% of people in the Western Trust area remaining undiagnosed with dementia, we are encouraging people who have concerns about their memory to seek help.
“It is important that if you or your family have concerns about your own or a family members health to make an appointment with the GP.
“A timely diagnosis will ensure that people and their families receive appropriate information, treatment and support to make informed choices regarding their future care.”
For more information and advice please visit your GP or contact the Western Trust Dementia Navigator Gemma O’Brien Tel: 07585998890.
If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Derry Now editorial team on 028 7129 6600 for Derry City stories Or 028 7774 3970 for County Derry stories. Or you can email [email protected] at any time.