What is dementia?

What is dementia?

Dementia is a term which is used to describe a number of different symptoms or conditions that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. It is caused when the brain is damaged by disease, most commonly Alzheimer's disease, or a series of strokes.

In Bristol there are an estimated 4,500 people living with the condition. Over the next 30 years, we expect that number to increase by a third.

Providing effective health and social care that enables people to live well with dementia is therefore a priority. To provide this care, we’re working closely with partners such as Bristol City Council, Alzheimer’s Society and the city’s hospital trusts.

How to spot dementia:

Symptoms of dementia can include:

  • memory loss, especially problems with memory of recent events
  • increasing difficulty with organising and planning tasks and activities
  • becoming confused in unfamiliar environments
  • having difficulty finding the right words
  • finding difficulty with numbers
  • changes in personality and mood, and depression.

You can read more about how to spot the signs of dementia at the NHS Choices website, or Alzheimer's Society.

How to reduce your risk of getting dementia

Leading a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk of getting dementia. This includes stopping smoking, taking regular exercise, eating a well-balanced diet and keeping yourself mentally stimulated.

What to do if you suspect dementia

If you are worried that you, or someone close to you, has dementia, then the more quickly you seek help, the better.

Your GP can rule out other conditions with similar symptoms and give you further advice, information and support on dementia. They may offer medication if appropriate.

If your GP is unable to make a diagnosis, they may refer you to a memory clinic or arrange further tests.

Bristol Dementia Wellbeing Service

Dementia care in the city is provided by the Dementia Wellbeing Service . The service is delivered by Alzheimer’s Society and Devon Partnership NHS Trust working together as the Bristol Dementia Partnership.

People living will dementia will be referred to the Dementia Wellbeing Service through their GP.

The new service has been designed to provide a personalised package of care, tailored to the individual. It includes continuous, one-to-one support local to where someone lives and the creation of a personalised wellbeing plan. This will provide long term support from assessment and diagnosis until the end of their life, including extensive support for those with the most complex and challenging needs. Families and carers will also benefit from practical help, training and advice.

 

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