BLOG: Worried about your memory?

27th May 2021

By Tom Rose, Admiral Nurse Clinical Lead at St Barnabas Hospice

What should I do if I’m worried about my memory?

If you are worried about your memory, mood or feel that things seem to be getting more difficult or overwhelming, you should speak to your GP.

We all have moments of forgetfulness, for example, forgetting why we entered the room, but if things like this are becoming more frequent or last for a long time, you should get it checked out. Your GP will help you to work out if there is any reason to be concerned.

Memory issues don’t automatically mean that dementia is the issue. They can also be affected by depression and anxiety, sleep disorders or stress.

What happens during an assessment?

After discussing it with your GP, they will usually ask the local memory service to see you. This usually involves a discussion with a nurse or doctor, perhaps with a memory test followed by a head scan to look at the brain. They will then discuss those results with you and what they mean.

How can I help if I’m worried about someone else’s memory?

Don’t be afraid to talk about dementia. It can be tough to open a conversation with someone about memory concerns. Often people will be concerned about these issues themselves. Talking to someone can help so much to reassure the person and support them in getting help. The important thing is to listen to their concerns and tell them about yours in an open conversation.

Where can I find out more information?

Several organisations provide information and support nationally.

Dementia UK – www.dementiauk.org – support Admiral Nurses throughout the country who provide specialist support for families living with dementia. They also have a national helpline on 0800 8886678

Alzheimer’s Society – www.alzheimers.org.uk – also have information resources about dementia.

Alzheimer’s Research UK – www.alzheimersresearchuk.org – have information, statistics and resources about the current state of research into treatment and prevention of dementia

Here at St Barnabas, we offer support for families living with dementia in Lincolnshire when things are particularly complex or difficult to manage. We can be contacted on 01522 551250 or admiralnurses@stbarnabashospice.co.uk. If you feel that a referral to the service would help, speak to your GP or other supporting health and social care teams who can refer you directly to us.

You can sign petitions to call on the government to increase funding for dementia research. Current dementia is the only top 10 cause of death with no treatment. Yet, it receives a quarter of the budget that cancer research does. Alzheimer’s Research UK is calling on the government to honour commitments previously made to this (Sign our petition for dementia research | Alzheimer’s Research UK (alzheimersresearchuk.org)).

The Alzheimer’s Society is also calling on the government to improve the funding of care for families living with dementia as a majority of users of care services are likely to have dementia Sign our petition to #CureTheCareSystem | Alzheimers Society

Lastly, you can also become a research participant in increasing our knowledge about dementia. By signing up, you can participate in studies to better understand risks associated with dementia and help find cures and treatments. This can be done by anyone whether you are impacted by dementia currently or not Join dementia research – register your interest in dementia research : Home (nihr.ac.uk)

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