Why have an assessment for dementia?

Find out why it is important to have an assessment to test if you have dementia, and the benefits of receiving a diagnosis.

Dementia is not a normal part of ageing, and so it is important that you discuss any symptoms or changes you have noticed with the GP as soon as you can rather than putting it off.

Going through an assessment as early as possible can give you a number of advantages, for example:

  • ruling out other medical conditions that may have similar symptoms, such as depression, chest and urinary tract infections, severe constipation, thyroid problems and vitamin deficiencies
  • ruling out other possible causes of confusion such as poor sight or hearing, emotional changes and upsets (for example, moving house or bereavement), or the side effects of certain drugs (or drug combinations) you may be taking for other conditions
  • having an explanation as to why you’re experiencing your symptoms, so that you can focus on managing them
  • getting access to any treatments you may need, as well as any relevant information, advice and support (emotional, practical, legal and financial).

Another benefit of having an assessment is that if you are given a diagnosis of dementia, you will also usually be told what type of dementia it is (although this cannot always be confirmed). Examples of types of dementia include Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia.

Knowing which type of dementia you have can help you to understand your symptoms, predict how the dementia might progress, and know how to manage your symptoms. For example certain drugs would be prescribed to help manage the  symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease that would not be prescribed for vascular dementia.

Worried about memory problems?

If you or other people are noticing that memory problems are getting worse, or affecting everyday life, we are here to support you.

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