Getting diagnosed

Many people worry about their memory, particularly as they get older. People become more concerned that forgetfulness could be a sign of something like dementia.

However, it is important not to jump to conclusions. Confusion or forgetfulness does not mean someone has dementia; nor is dementia an inevitable part of growing older. Many other conditions, such as infections, depression or the side effects of medicines can cause similar problems.

If you are worried about your memory, book an appointment to see your doctor. Ask for a double appointment to allow plenty of time to discuss your concerns. Your GP may refer you to a memory clinic or a specialist to better understand what has been happening. This may include more detailed testing of your memory, and sometimes other tests. 

The earlier you get a diagnosis of dementia, the sooner you can start to come to terms with the illness, make plans for the future, and access support and services that can help.

If you have been told that you have dementia, you may be feeling a range of emotions. Shock, disbelief and even relief can all be natural responses to dementia. If you would like to talk to someone about how you feel, our Freephone 24 hour Dementia Helpline is available on 0808 808 3000 for information, support and advice.