01 July 2011

Next week is Dementia Awareness Week (3rd to 9th July) and Northamptonshire County Council is encouraging anyone concerned about dementia to get advice as early as possible.

In Northamptonshire it is believed that some 7,000 people suffer from dementia; by 2025, this figure is expected to have increased by 50%.

However, less than half of those affected by the condition are known to the county council or health organisations.

Dementia is not a single illness but a group of symptoms caused by damage to the brain. The symptoms include loss of memory, mood changes and confusion. Dementia is caused by a number of different diseases of the brain, including Alzheimer's disease.

Vascular dementia is the second most common cause after Alzheimer's disease. High blood pressure, heart problems, high cholesterol and diabetes can increase the chances of developing vascular dementia so it is important these conditions are identified and treated at the earliest opportunity.

Councillor Robin Brown, county council cabinet member for health and adult social services said: "Memory problems are common and as we get older it's not unusual for people to notice that their memories are becoming less reliable. This can be because of tiredness, stress, anxiety, depression and being overworked can cause us to become more absentminded.

"However, sometimes memory loss can be an early sign of dementia and it's important that if people are concerned, they go to see their GP sooner rather than later. The earlier you seek help the better, as there may be support or treatment available that can help you."

The Alzheimer's Society lists the following symptoms to look out for:

  • Struggle to remember recent events, although you can easily recall things that happened in the past
  • Find it hard to follow conversations or programmes on TV
  • Forget the names of friends or everyday objects
  • Cannot recall things you have heard, seen or read
  • Notice that you repeat yourself or lose the thread of what you are saying
  • Have problems thinking and reasoning
  • Feel anxious, depressed or angry about your memory loss
  • Find that other people start to comment on your memory loss
  • Feel confused even when in a familiar environment

The county council is working with partners in the NHS and the third sector to deliver improvements to the services available for people with dementia and their carers in line with the priorities set out for action by the National Dementia Strategy 'Living Well with Dementia'.

In Northamptonshire, a specialist dementia service is available which includes homecare services, daytime support, support and advice for carers, advice and signposting, assistance with access to other professionals and support with accessing benefits, housing and social contact needs.

People affected by dementia, or their friends and family can contact a dementia care advisers by emailing adultcare@northamptonshire.gov.uk or

  • Wellingborough & East Northants, 07884 118 693
  • South Northants & Daventry, 07773 364 580
  • Kettering, Corby & District, 07717 485 045
  • Northampton & District, 07884 118 944

More information is on the county council's website www.northamptonshire.gov.uk