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Benefits of getting a dementia diagnosis

Finding the reason for any changes you’re experiencing can help you to get the right treatment and support.

How a diagnosis can help you

An early diagnosis helps you to access:

  • the right support to live as well as possible, including treatments to help with symptoms
  • information to help you and others understand the changes you’re experiencing
  • any benefits or legal protection you may be entitled to

Speaking to your GP is the starting point.

Reasons to speak to a GP

Early diagnosis can help you

If you’ve only recently become aware of changes, it might feel as though your symptoms aren’t ‘bad enough’ yet. But getting an early diagnosis of dementia can be important.

In an Alzheimer’s Society survey, 3 out of 5 people with dementia wish they had got a diagnosis sooner. There are important reasons for this, which may help you if you are wondering whether to talk to the GP.

It might not be dementia

Problems with memory and thinking aren’t always dementia. Many other conditions can cause similar symptoms which can be treated, including:

  • depression or anxiety
  • medication side effects
  • sleep problems
  • problems with eyesight or hearing
  • chest or urinary tract infections
  • severe constipation
  • thyroid problems
  • stress 
  • iron and vitamin deficiencies

There are also other causes of memory problems and thinking that are different to dementia, and can get better with the right support, such as mild cognitive impairment.

Often, it’s a combination of things that cause symptoms. Seeing the GP can help you get the treatment you need to feel better.

Benefits of having a dementia diagnosis

If you have dementia, being diagnosed at an earlier stage gives you a chance to adjust and get things you need.

Access to support 

There is no cure for the diseases causing dementia yet. But there is lots of support that can help you live as well as possible. Getting a diagnosis should let you know what type of dementia you have. It can also help you plan for the future and access therapies and support groups. This may also mean you get access to medicines to help you manage your symptoms.

Benefits and protection

Getting a dementia diagnosis means you can access financial benefits you might be entitled to. It also means that you are legally protected from discrimination (being treated unfairly).

Being able to explain why you’re having problems

It can be challenging for other people to understand why you are not able to function as well as you used to. This can be frustrating. Getting a diagnosis of dementia can help people to adjust to the changes you’re experiencing and support you more effectively.

It’s important not to write off your symptoms as being unimportant. Your problems are worth investigating – you deserve to know what is behind them and healthcare professionals are there to support you.

Deciding to speak to your GP is a positive and important step.

Video: How getting a dementia diagnosis can help

Bhagwant, Saskia and Gina share their experiences and the benefits of getting a diagnosis.

How we support you

Get advice and information, whether you are worried about your memory, waiting for a referral or already diagnosed.

  • Call our support line to speak to a trained adviser
  • Visit our online forum to hear from people in the same situation

Real life stories of the benefits of diagnosis

Hear from people who believe getting diagnosed helped them.

Sylvia and Doug smiling.

Early diagnosis is why I am able to have such a full life

Sylvia explains why she is such a passionate advocate of early diagnosis.

Jo, who has dementia, sits on couch with husband Bill.

How my wife’s early diagnosis gave us relief

Bill noticed the signs in Jo, and getting a diagnosis helped them build a new life.

Marie and Neil at Memory Walk.

Mistaking dementia for menopause: Marie’s story

Marie didn’t think she’d get dementia at 51. Now she wants to help raise awareness.

Last reviewed: December 2023

Next review: December 2025