3,500 with dementia, latest figures show

It is estimated that about 3,500 people over 65 are living with undiagnosed dementia in Bucks, latest figures show.

Dementia Awareness Week is run annually by the Alzheimer’s Society with this year’s theme being diagnosis.

The week (13-19 May) aims to help those who might be living with undiagnosed dementia to understand potential symptoms and risk factors and to come forward for guidance and support when needing to take the next steps towards diagnosis.

Risk factors such as family history and pre-existing medical conditions can increase the possibility of developing dementia in later life.

Lifestyle factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and obesity can also increase the risk.

During the week, Buckinghamshire Council will be running a series of events which are open to people countywide to raise awareness of dementia-related conditions, so people with common symptoms can find support they need.

The council is also providing a dementia ‘toolkit’, including a symptom checklist, so anyone experiencing symptoms can spot and record any difficulties and discuss the symptoms further with their GP.

Angela Macpherson, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: ‘A third of people living with dementia do not have a diagnosis and taking the first steps towards one can seem like a daunting task.

‘Even though we have come far with understanding dementia, there is still a stigma associated with it, which can cause delayed diagnosis due to fear of social judgement or discrimination.

‘Many individuals and their loved ones may also not recognise the early signs or symptoms, which can prevent early intervention.

‘With our events in support of Dementia Action Week, we aim to raise awareness and to help those facing dementia get access to the services and support they need.

‘To prevent a late diagnosis, residents aged 40 to 74 can also book an NHS Health Check, which is a free check-up of your overall health.

‘It is offered every five years and can help you to find early signs of certain health problems, that can increase your risk of dementia.’