Study warns of dementia 'myths'

17 May 2016 08:05

People with dementia symptoms are being urged to have them checked

People with dementia symptoms are being urged to have them checked

Many people are scared to visit their family doctor with signs of dementia, a new study suggests.

The Alzheimer's Society's poll finds that over half of 1,000 respondents (56%) waited at least several months before they presented their symptoms to their GP. Some people wait over a year, the charity finds.

It says that another survey reveals many myths surrounding dementia, such as diagnosed memory loss will spell the beginning of the end.

Travel plans

Far from life being at an end, the reality is that people with dementia illnesses such as Alzheimer's can continue to lead a fulfilling life, including taking holidays abroad.

They can take out tailor-made Alzheimer's-related travel insurance to suit their needs.

This can cover lost passports, stolen possessions, round-the-clock medical assistance and lost medication.

Key stats

A poll of 2,000-plus adults to coincide with Dementia Awareness Week (May 17-23) also exposes many myths from people worried that they may have memory loss.

It shows that they mistakenly think that a dementia diagnosis would mean:

• the end of their life as they know it (62%)

• other people thinking they had gone "mad" (49%)

• having to stop driving (45%)

• having to stop solitary walks (24%)

• losing their friends or partner (22%)

The survey also shows that nearly four in 10 people do not see their doctor about possible dementia because they dismiss it as merely part of getting old.

What the expert says

Alzheimer's Society chief executive Jeremy Hughes says the many misunderstandings and myths surrounding dementia are continuing to help stigmatise the condition.

He says the dementia week aims to comfort people with the knowledge that life goes on after the illness takes hold.

Mr Hughes says that getting diagnosed as soon as possible is a step in the right direction and urges people to see their GP. The charity claims that 2016 will see 225,000 dementia diagnoses.

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