Our memory and thinking processes, referred to as cognition, may change as we get older or if we are stressed or on certain medication. For example, we may occasionally forget where we left our keys. In many cases, these changes do not affect our ability to function normally in everyday life and are simply a mild annoyance.
However, if memory changes are affecting daily life and you are becoming increasingly forgetful, this is not a normal part of aging and it is important to speak to your doctor as these may be signs of dementia.
What is dementia?
Symptoms of dementia can include memory loss, problems with thinking, language, mood and movement. Dementia is not one disease but a term used to describe many different conditions affecting how our brains work. For instance, Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia. In the UK, 1 in 11 people over the age of 65 have a type dementia. If someone is diagnosed with dementia under the age of 65, this is classed as ‘young onset’ dementia. The symptoms of dementia usually get worse over time so it is important to get a diagnosis as early as possible because treatment can allow people to live better for longer.
An appointment at the RICE centre’s memory clinic, on the RUH site in Bath, will help to identify and diagnose a memory problem. RICE has an extensive research programme exploring new techniques for diagnosing and treating dementia. After diagnosis, we also offer a range of support for both people living with dementia and their loved ones.