Patients With Dementia at Forest Health Group
At any one time we have 60-100 patients with known dementia in our practice. Many more will be unknown to us or undiagnosed.
Dementia is a common condition that affects about 800,000 people in the UK. Your risk of developing dementia increases as you get older, and the condition usually occurs in people over the age of 65. It is a syndrome associated with an on-going decline of the brain and its abilities. This includes problems with memory loss, thinking speed, mental agility, language, understanding and judgement.
Our patients who have already been diagnosed with dementia are asked to attend the surgery every year for a review of their dementia. We also invite carers to attend. We can ensure that you are receiving the help that you need, and we can help point you in the right direction of local services and specialists. Your GP may do a medication review if you have been prescribed medication to enhance your memory or to treat any problems with sleep or behaviour. We will also ensure that we have an accurate record of who helps to care for you. It can be a good idea to give your carer permission to speak to your doctor on your behalf; all you need to do is put this in writing to the surgery and we can add a record of this permission to your medical notes.
There is excellent up to date and detailed information about dementia and how you can help yourself or your family member to live well with dementia, on the NHS website:
I Am Worried About My/Someone Else’s Memory
If you’re becoming increasingly forgetful, particularly if you’re over the age of 65, it may be a good idea to talk to your GP about the early signs of dementia. As you get older, you may find that memory loss becomes a problem. It’s normal for your memory to be affected by age, stress, tiredness, or certain illnesses and medications. This can be annoying if it happens occasionally, but if it’s affecting your daily life or is worrying you or someone you know, you should seek help from your GP.
Dementia, and the difficulties it causes, is one of the most feared health conditions. People with dementia and their families are sometimes reluctant to seek advice when concerned about memory or other problems. But there are many potential benefits to getting medical advice if you’re worried. Being diagnosed early is important for many reasons. It helps you to get the right treatments and to find the best sources of support, as well as to make decisions about the future.
Dementia Screening for High Risk Groups
At Forest Health Group we are keen to ensure that all of our patients who are considered at risk of dementia, are offered screening for memory loss. ‘At-risk’ patients are:
- patients aged 60 and over with heart disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease or diabetes
- patients aged 40 and over with Down’s syndrome
- other patients aged 50 and over with learning disabilities
- patients with long-term neurological conditions which have a known neurodegenerative element, for example, Parkinson’s disease.
If you are in one of these groups you may be offered a very short memory test when you see a doctor or nurse. This test is entirely optional, so please decline if you are not interested. Any patient who is identified as possibly having memory loss after this test will be invited to have more detailed testing, including blood tests and sometimes a referral to the memory clinic.