Supporting people with memory loss - the NHS is here for you

The NHS is urging Sussex residents who may be struggling with ongoing memory issues to contact their GP for a memory assessment.

You can get help near to where you live
You can get help near to where you live

We know that the coronavirus pandemic makes this a challenging and scary time for many people, but please don’t wait to seek medical attention or advice should you need to – our NHS is here for you.

The winter months, when days get shorter and nights get longer, can pose particular problems for someone with memory loss or dementia. Living with dementia brings everyday challenges and sadly coronavirus is making daily life just that bit harder.

People living with dementia and those around them may feel anxious, scared or lonely, but it’s important to remember that you are not alone and help is available. We are working in partnership across our local NHS and councils to help improve the health and wellbeing of people living with dementia.

Help is available for you and your family

Dementia is a broad term used to describe a number of different conditions that affect the brain. Some of the more common types of Dementia are:

Alzheimer’s disease – this accounts for around 60% of dementia diagnoses in the UK.

Vascular Dementia – around 17% of people diagnosed with dementia will have Vascular Dementia. It’s most common in the over 65s.

Frontotemporal Dementia – is less common than Alzheimer’s disease and Vascular Dementia, however it is the second most common dementia in people under 65.

Alcohol related brain damage – excessive drinking over a prolonged period can lead to brain damage, which is similar to dementia.

Mixed dementia - At least more than one person in every 10 has more than one type of dementia.

Peter’s story told by his wife Lindy:

“I’m going back a few years when I used to care for Peter’s mother until she lived in a care home - her behaviour was often quite odd. She was unable to do things for herself and became childlike - not realising at the time that she had Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD), which was never diagnosed. For many years I constantly said to Peter “you’re just getting like your mother”. Not realising Peter was showing signs of dementia.

“It’s been really important to have had a diagnosis of dementia for Peter - knowing we are not alone on this walk. The care we are given is exemplary. The GP service has been wonderful and we feel heard and so cared for.

“The coronavirus has been a strange time. It’s been difficult for Peter to understand that many of the services have changed the way they do things and we have to be more patient. We have just gone with the flow, just wanting to be safe. 

We have been well supported, it’s been great having the Zoom meetings with the various caring groups. It’s encouraging to see all our friends who are affected by dementia too and see how they are coping.”

Your GP can refer you or someone you care for into a range of services to help with memory loss and dementia.

Bikram Raychaudhuri, Clinical Lead for Dementia at the Sussex NHS Commissioners said: “We can all experience memory problems from time to time, for example forgetting where you have left your keys or why you went into a certain room. For the most part these are not things to be too concerned about. However, if you or someone you know begins to experience regular memory loss and disorientation, or subtle changes in personality over a prolonged period, especially if it is impacting daily activities such as difficulty in cooking, cleaning or taking medication, then it is a good idea to speak to a GP. Family, friends or carers may often recognise these changes before the person who is affected does.”

We would like to remind people that due to coronavirus, the way that you access services may be different to what you are used to. To protect you and NHS staff and prevent the spread of coronavirus, initial appointments may be online or by phone.

There may be a short delay in assessments by the Dementia Assessment Service due to the pandemic. However, the service is working hard to contact people as soon as possible.

More information can be found here.