Dementia is a term which is used to describe a number of different symptoms or conditions that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. It is caused when the brain is damaged by disease, most commonly Alzheimer's disease, or a series of strokes.
Symptoms of dementia can include:
- memory loss, especially problems with memory of recent events
- increasing difficulty with organising and planning tasks and activities
- becoming confused in unfamiliar environments
- having difficulty finding the right words
- finding difficulty with numbers
- changes in personality and mood, and depression.
How to reduce your risk of getting dementia
Leading a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk of getting dementia. This includes stopping smoking, taking regular exercise, eating a well-balanced diet and keeping yourself mentally stimulated.
What to do if you suspect dementia
If you are worried that you, or someone close to you, has dementia, then the more quickly you seek help, the better.
Your GP can rule out other conditions with similar symptoms and give you further advice, information and support on dementia. They may offer medication if appropriate.
If your GP is unable to make a diagnosis, they may refer you to a memory clinic or arrange further tests.
In Bristol there are an estimated 4,500 people living with the condition. Over the next 30 years, we expect that number to increase by a third.
Dementia Wellbeing Service
Dementia care in the city is provided by the Dementia Wellbeing Service. The service is delivered by Alzheimer’s Society and Devon Partnership NHS Trust working together as the Bristol Dementia Partnership.
People living with dementia will be referred to the Dementia Wellbeing Service through their GP.
The Dementia Wellbeing Service has been designed to provide a personalised package of care, tailored to the individual. It includes continuous, one-to-one support local to where someone lives and the creation of a personalised wellbeing plan. This will provide long term support from assessment and diagnosis until the end of their life, including extensive support for those with the most complex and challenging needs. Families and carers will also benefit from practical help, training and advice.
Bristol’s memory cafés
Alzheimer’s Society runs monthly memory cafés at venues across the city for anyone who has dementia or memory problems. Specialist health professionals offer help and advice and you can meet other families and carers experiencing dementia.
There are memory cafes in:
In North Somerset there are over 3,100 people living with dementia and, with the help of our partners such as North Somerset Council and the Alzheimer’s Society, we’re committed to improving the care and support that patients, carers and families receive.
The North Somerset Community Partnership (NSCP) have produced some useful videos on diagnosis of dementia and caring for someone with dementia:
About 2,000 people in South Gloucestershire are known to have dementia and we work with South Gloucestershire Council, Well Aware and other partners to ensure that they are supported.
Memory Cafes in South Gloucestershire
Memory Cafés offer a friendly welcome for anyone affected by dementia, or worried about their or someone else’s memory. They provide practical information and support, as well as the opportunity for people to ask questions and to listen to others’ experience. They also provide an informal and social environment in which to learn new skills, enjoy activities, listen to guest speakers and make new friends.
Find out about local Memory Cafes on the South Gloucestershire Council website
North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Memory Services
North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Memory Services are for people requiring specialist dementia assessment.
People identified as possibly having dementia will be referred to the Memory Services through their GP.
These assessments, which are predominantly clinic-based but can also be carried out at home, enable specialist diagnosis and intervention aimed at empowering people living with dementia and their carers to manage their condition, with support from their GP.
The Memory Services provide people with advice and information, as well as signposting and referring to relevant primary, community and voluntary services, to reduce the need for ongoing specialist care.
- find out more about dementia on the NHS website.
- assistive technology to support people with dementia and their carers.
- go to the Alzheimer’s Society website for a wealth of information about living with dementia.
- read about our support for carers.