How do I know if someone has dementia?

If you or someone close to you has concerns about your memory please come and discuss this with the GP. 


A memory assessment involves several different elements:


Firstly a series of questions to assess how well different aspects of your brain work. We usually perform a validated screening questionnaire or occasionally a more in depth series of questions.


Secondly a physical examination which looks for evidence of any disease of the brain or nerves as well as your heart. This is because some diseases, other than dementia, can show themselves by affecting your memory. We check your heart to make sure that there are no problems should you require medicines for your memory in the future. We also run some blood checks to see if there are any other underlying conditions which can affect your memory, such as vitamin B12 deficiency.


The third step in the process, if there is an impairment with your memory is for us to arrange a CT scan of your brain at the Friarage Hospital, Northallerton. Again, this helps to determine whether there is any structural problem causing the impairment, such as strokes or tumours.


Following on from this, we will arrange a specialist assessment in the memory clinic.

Dementia and driving

A diagnosis of dementia is not in itself a reason to stop driving. One in every three people with dementia still drives. What matters, from both a legal and a practical point of view, is whether the person is still able to drive safely.


Alzheimer's Society has an informative fact sheet on driving.

Local support services for patients and families

Alzheimer's Society also has a search facility for local services for our patients which covers day care, activities, support groups and advocacy.

Dementia Forward is an excellent local charity which provides support for those with dementia and people who care for them.  They help people who do not yet have a diagnosis of dementia, those with memory problems or carers for those affected by dementia.

The Blue Book provides a summary of activities and support available for older people and people living with dementia.

Keeping safe with dementia

North Yorkshire Police have a simple risk reduction tool to help when a person with dementia goes missing. This is best used in advance of a situation occuring. For further details go to their webpage on the Herbert Protocol.

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