I'm worried about my memory
Many people think memory problems are just a sign of old age and not a medical condition that could benefit from drug treatment, advice and support. Or that their problems aren’t important enough to ‘bother the doctor’ about. But if the problem is affecting your life, then you, your family and your doctor should take it seriously. It may not be anything to worry about.
See your family doctor (GP) if you have noticed a change, gradual or sudden, from what is normal for you, or if your symptoms are causing you problems in your life.
Some possible causes of forgetfulness and confusion:
- stress, for example, after a bereavement
- an infection, for example a chest or a bladder infection
- other illnesses such as vitamin deficiency or thyroid disorder
- the side effects of drugs
- long-term overuse of alcohol or some tranquillisers
- the menopause
- the normal ageing process (which causes mild forgetfulness or difficulty finding words)
It is important that if you have dementia you are diagnosed as early as possible. This means that you have the best opportunity to:
- benefit from any appropriate treatments
- understand what the future holds for you
- talk about your diagnosis and your feelings with friends and family
- get information, for example about welfare benefits and support available
- get support such as counselling or join a support group
- choose someone to handle your financial affairs or take welfare and health care decisions for you if you can’t in the future (powers of attorney) – call the Dementia Helpline on 0808 808 3000 to get a booklet about this, or see a solicitor
- make other decisions for the future such as making an advance directive or living will about what treatments you would or would not want
- get other affairs in order (for example, write your will).