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How to get a dementia diagnosis

The dementia diagnosis process can be different for everyone. This page describes the typical steps involved in getting a diagnosis.

Talk to your GP

If you’re worried about symptoms that may be dementia, start by talking to your GP. 

Your GP will carry out an initial assessment. It will help you if you know what to expect and how you can have a good conversation about dementia. You can use our symptoms checklist to help describe any symptoms.

Referral to a dementia specialist

If your GP or another health professional thinks it’s possible you might have dementia, they will refer you to a local memory service, which has medical staff who specialise in dementia. 

They will test your memory and see how you answer different types of questions. You may also have a scan to check for changes in your brain.

Based on the assessment and test results, the specialist will discuss their findings with you. You will then be able to access the support that is right for you 

How long does it take?

The assessment process can vary, and will not be the same for everyone.

For many people, getting a dementia diagnosis can be quite simple and take just a few weeks. For others it can take much longer – sometimes more than a year.

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

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Last reviewed: December 2023

Next review: December 2025