New research carried out by Alzheimer’s Society and unveiled to mark Dementia Action Week has uncovered widespread reticence to face up to dementia symptoms.
With Dementia Action Week running from 15-21 May, the new research shows that one in three people who notice symptoms of dementia either in themselves or a loved one keep their fears to themselves for over a month.
Alzheimer’s Society surveyed 1,100 people who are worried that they or their loved one might have dementia, as well as people already living with a diagnosis, and their carers. According to the survey, a mere 15 per cent brought up the issue straight away, while 11 per cent still have not aired their concerns despite spotting the first symptom.
This delay is having a knock-on effect on how soon people are able to get help, as almost a quarter (23 per cent) of those questioned waited over six months before they spoke to a medical professional.
Confusing dementia symptoms with ‘normal ageing’ was the top reason people stayed silent (64 per cent), followed by not wanting to worry their loved one (33 per cent), and fears of how their relationships might change (16 per cent).
The fear of stigma still looms large, with 44 per cent of respondents admitting they were scared people would speak down to them or their loved one after they were diagnosed.
Alzheimer’s Society CEO Kate Lee said: “We can’t continue to avoid the ‘d’ word – we need to face dementia head on.
"This Dementia Action Week we want everyone to know there is support out there if you’re confused about symptoms, or don’t know how to have that first tricky conversation.
“As soon as you realise something is not right, come to Alzheimer’s Society - you can use our symptoms checklist to help have that all-important first chat with your GP."