Newly released research from Alzheimer’s Society shows that 1 in 7 GPs have noticed more people asking about memory problems since the launch of its Worried About Your Memory? campaign. Up to two thirds of people with dementia never receive a diagnosis. Campaign materials, distributed in GP surgeries across the country, sought to address this. Findings from a new survey show that up to half of the respondents who requested the Worried About Your Memory? materials went on to receive a diagnosis.
Dementia affects as many as half a million in England alone. The recently published National Dementia Strategy for England highlighted the need to raise awareness, improve diagnosis and provide dementia training. This new research from Alzheimer’s Society confirms the importance of these priorities to GPs. Ninety two per cent agreed that it is important to diagnose dementia early but nearly a quarter said they did not feel they’d had sufficient basic and post-qualification training to help diagnose and manage dementia. Over half also wanted further information on local support services for people with dementia and 30% wanted advice on when to refer for treatment.
Neil Hunt, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society, says,
‘Dementia is not a natural part of ageing it is caused by diseases of the brain and robs people of their lives. The Worried About Your Memory? campaign has made some inroads into improved awareness and diagnosis. However, this must be followed through in the implementation of the National Dementia Strategy for England. We need to see ongoing improvements in diagnosis and widespread training of healthcare professionals so that people are directed towards the support they need.’
Care Services Minister Phil Hope says,
‘The success of the Worried About Your Memory? campaign is a step forward in making sure people are better informed about dementia. It is also helping to tackle the stigma associated with the disease, so more people feel they can come forward for earlier diagnosis. But there’s lots more to do. I want to see more national and local information made available and our work on the National Dementia Strategy will help make that happen.’
Dr Barbara Woodhatch, a GP from Islington, says,
‘Awareness raising campaigns like Worried About Your Memory? can really help make a difference to diagnosis rates, as this research shows. However, the data also highlights how important it is to back this up with structured dementia training for GPs to help them refer people and provide them with information about local services.’
- 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 will die with dementia.
- Alzheimer’s Society research shows dementia costs the UK ??17 billion. This figure is predicted to treble in the next 30 years.
- 570,000 people have a form of dementia in England, more than half have Alzheimer’s disease. In less than 20 years nearly a million people will be living with dementia. This will soar to 1.7 million people in UK by 2051.
- Dementia is not a natural part of ageing; it is caused by diseases of the brain and robs people of their lives.
- Alzheimer’s Society champions the rights of people living with dementia and those who care for them. Alzheimer’s Society works in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
- Alzheimer’s Society needs to raise money to care for people today and to find a cure for tomorrow. You can donate now by calling 0845 306 0898 or visiting alzheimers
- Alzheimer’s Society provides a National Dementia Helpline, the number is 0845 300 0336
About memory problems
Although memory problems are common and factors such as age, tiredness, stress, depression and some physical illnesses can affect it, Alzheimer’s Society is encouraging people to seek advice and help if the following occur:
- It’s a struggle to remember recent events, although it’s easy to recall things that happened in the past
- It’s hard to follow conversations or programmes on TV
- Regularly forgetting the names of friends or everyday objects
- Inability to recall things heard, seen or read
- Difficulty in making decisions
- Repeat themselves in conversation or lose the thread of what they are saying
- Have problems thinking and reasoning
- Feel anxious and depressed or angry about their forgetfulness
- Find that other people start to comment on their forgetfulness
About the Worried About Your Memory? Campaign
- The Worried About Your Memory? campaign was rolled out across England, Wales and Northern Ireland in May 2008 (following a previous pilot).
- 42,550 GPs received a dementia CD Rom and 10,752 GP surgeries received 50 leaflets, a poster and a dispenser. Further leaflets have been sent each quarter.
- To date 12,000 people have requested further information, 50,000 booklets have been downloaded from the website and 1,800 enquiries have been made to Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Helpline.
- The Worried About Your Memory? campaign has also been rolled-out through pharmacies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland from January to June 2009
- Alzheimer’s Society conducted research in January 2009 to evaluate the success of the Worried About Your Memory? campaign. Surveys were sent to GP surgeries that received the Worried About Your Memory? materials and members of the public who have requested the Worried About Your Memory? booklet. 1,817 GPs and 524 members of the public responded to the survey.
- The Worried About Your Memory? campaign is supported by funding from the Department of Health in England
- The Worried About Your Memory? campaign is supported by funding from Eisai Limited, Novartis Limited, Pfizer Limited and Shire Pharmaceuticals Limited in Wales and Northern Ireland.
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