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World Alzheimer’s Month – know the early signs this September

During World Alzheimer’s Month in September, Health leaders across Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire are raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and the support services available.

September 2020 will mark the ninth World Alzheimer’s Month, an international campaign to raise dementia awareness and challenge stigma. As part of this, NHS Blackburn with Darwen and NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are encouraging local residents to look out for the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and to take advantage of the services available.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. Dementia is a general term for loss of memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life. There are currently estimated to be over 46 million people worldwide living with dementia. The number of people affected is set to rise to over 131 million by 2050.

Dr Rakesh Sharma, clinical lead for mental health at NHS Blackburn with Darwen and NHS East Lancashire CCGs, said:

“Living with dementia is challenging whatever the circumstances. Although it's normal for your memory to be affected by stress, tiredness, certain illnesses and medicines, if you're becoming increasingly forgetful, particularly if you're over the age of 65, it's a good idea to talk to a GP about the early signs of dementia.

“Dementia doesn’t only affect the memory; it can also affect the way you speak, think, feel and behave. It's also important to remember as well that dementia is not a natural part of ageing.

The number of people living with Alzheimer’s is set to rapidly increase, and even though the disease mainly affects people over the age of 65 there are over 17,000 people in the UK under 65 who have the disease. As a community, we need to support everyone living with Alzheimer’s.”

Early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's can include; memory loss for example forgetting important dates or recent conversations, challenges in planning or solving problems, showing poor judgement / finding it harder to make decisions.

If you or your loved ones are experiencing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, you should contact your GP for further help and support.

Whilst we are living under the unprecedented circumstances of the global Covid-19 outbreak, it is important that you do not wait until after lockdown or for restrictions to end to speak with your doctor about experiencing symptoms of dementia. During Covid-19 you can still contact your Alzheimer’s association, use their helpline, website and social media to stay up to date with advice and information.

For advice and support visit the Alzheimer’s Society website: www.alzheimers.org.uk/

Speak to a dementia adviser, call the Dementia Connect support line: 0333 150 3456                                                                                                             

Visit East Lancashire’s Dementia Today website: www.eastlancsdementia.org/

For further information on Alzheimer’s disease, visit the NHS UK website: www.nhs.uk/conditions/alzheimers-disease/

#WorldAlzMonth