Proper Alzheimer's diagnosis gives right care
Published 08/11/2013 | 01:30
MIGHT your readers be concerned – as I am – that thousands of people with dementia in Northern Ireland are still not getting diagnosed?
New figures report that, across Northern Ireland, only 63% of people with dementia ever get a diagnosis – an increase of less than 1% on last year.
Belfast is the best-performing trust, with more than two-thirds of people getting a diagnosis. But there is considerable variation between trusts. In the Northern Trust, just over half of people with dementia get a diagnosis.
Not having a diagnosis is like setting out on a long, hazardous journey in the dark, without the benefit of a map, or a co-driver.
Diagnosis is the first step to getting the support, information and care that make it possible to live well with dementia and plan for the future.
Bringing all areas up to Belfast's standard would mean that 2,000 more people with dementia and their families would get information, care and support.
I would urge any readers who are worried about their own memory, or that of someone close to them, to find out more at www.alzheimers.org.uk/memory worry, but also visit their GP. I'm 51 and early diagnosis got me the best medication and medical team, helping me to maintain my sanity and independence.
For me and my family, feeling safe and maintaining different activities every day hopefully will slow down the Alzheimer's.