Dementia time-bomb - 33,000 undiagnosed

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THE local area is facing a dementia time-bomb with almost two-thirds of cases in the area going undiagnosed - a leading charity has warned.

The Alzheimer’s Society issued the bleak warning this week after it was revealed that dementia diagnoses in the East Midlands had jumped by almost 2,000 in the past year.

Almost 23,500 people in the region have now been dignosed, with the highest concentration of cases located within the Lincolnshire NHS primary care trust.

Over a fifth of the region’s cases fall within Lincolnshire.

But the Alzheimer’s Society has said that the figure of 4,288 cases in the local area is far short of its projected figure of 10,807 - meaning around 61 per cent of dementia sufferers in the county continue to fall through the cracks.

Ian Howarth, Area manager for Alzheimer’s Society in East Midlands says: “It’s shocking that well over half of people that are living with dementia still don’t have a diagnosis in the East Midlands and so aren’t receiving the support, benefits and the medical treatments that are often available.

“We have seen an increase over the last year, but there is still a long way to go.”

“Everyone is a little bit forgetful now and again, but when memory loss starts to interfere with your daily life it is important to get it checked out as soon as possible.

“The sooner people are diagnosed, the sooner they can get support and start planning for the future.”

The society added that studies had shown that an early diagnosis could save the taxpayer thousands of pounds, because it can delay the need for sufferers to receive care outside of their own home.

The Alzheimer’s Society recommends that anyone concerned about memory problems should speak to their GP.

Symptoms include struggling to remember recent events, despite being able to recall things that happened in the past, and finding it difficult to follow conversations or programmes on TV.

Other warning signs include regularly forgeting the names of friends or everyday objects, being unable to recall things you’ve heard, seen or read, having difficulty in making decisions, repeating conversations or losing the thread in speech, and having problems thinking and reasoning.

Feeling anxious, depressed or angry about your forgetfulness or finding that other people are commenting on your forgetfulness are other signs.

People who are worried about their memory or that of someone they know can also contact Alzheimer’s Society National Dementia Helpline on 0845 300 0336.