Shocking statistics revealed that nearly two-thirds of people surveyed in Greater London felt a dementia diagnosis would mean their life is over, the Alzheimer’s Society released today in line with Dementia Awareness Week.
The Alzheimer’s Society Study also found that 47% of people in Greater London are putting off seeking a diagnosis for a year or more because they fear the impact the disease will have on their life.
South London care home provider, Home Instead, believes Londoners should not suffer in silence this Dementia Awareness Week, May 15-21.
Lynn James, dementia leader of Home Instead, which serves Wimbledon and Kensington, said: “If people don’t talk about it they may not understand what is happening to them or access the wrong information.
“But if they get a diagnosis they can get access to the right information and the support they need rather than sitting at home worrying about what is happening to them.”
The YouGov research suggests people may be put off seeking a diagnosis because of the many myths that still exist around dementia.
Around 39% of Londoners said they would put off seeking medical attention from a GP about memory problems because they think it is just a part of the ageing process
A further 48% thought they would have to stop driving immediately after being diagnosed with the condition.
Ms James believes this is because there is still a generation of people who do not fully understand mental health.
“There are still people who feel they cannot leave the house because they fear being caught out not being able to remember something,” she said.
“The last thing we want is for people to sit at home thinking their life is over when, with the amazing support we provide, they can continue to live full lives.”
Ms James believes it is most important for people who fear they may have dementia to visit their GP and open up to their friends and family.
She said: “A lot of energy goes into keeping it hidden from everybody which causes more upset, and it’s almost wasted time that could be spent facing it together with your loved ones which makes it a lot easier.”
If people with dementia get the information they need and have the support of the family, Ms James said there is no reason for them to believe their lives are over.
She said: “It’s a new life, one that is different to the one they had before, but one where they can have new experiences and make new friends.”
Tim McLachlan, Alzheimer’s Society’s operations director for Greater London, said: “We know that dementia is the most feared health condition of our time and there’s no question that it can have a profound and devastating impact on individuals with the disease, their family and friends.
“But getting timely diagnosis and knowing that there is help and support will enable people with dementia to live as well as possible.
“We want everyone to know that Alzheimer’s Society is here for anyone affected by any form of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, and there are lots of ways we can help you.
“Now is the time to confront dementia head on.”
Call the Alzheimer’s Society’s National Dementia Helpline on 0300 22 1122 or visit alzheimer.org.uk/DAW for information.
Image courtesy of Casey Muir Taylor, with thanks.