Dementia Action Week

Dementia Action Week is the biggest and longest running awareness campaign supported by the Alzheimer’s Society. Each year, the Alzheimer’s Society works with individuals and organisations across the UK to encourage people to ‘act on dementia’. This year’s campaign will take place from 16th-22nd  May and the theme is all around diagnosis.1

NHS UK defines dementia as a syndrome (a group of related symptoms) associated with an ongoing decline of brain function.2 There are many different causes of dementia, and many different types. Dementia is not only associated with memory loss, it can also impact the way an individual speaks, thinks, feels and behaves. People often get confused about the difference between Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia and, together with vascular dementia, makes up most cases. It’s also important to remember that dementia is not a natural part of ageing2 – hence the campaign message, ‘It’s not about getting old, it’s about getting ill.’

The Alzheimer’s Society undertook research to understand the key barriers and benefits to getting a diagnosis. As well as the misconception around memory loss just being part of ‘getting old’, research found being in denial, and referral times to specialists, are big barriers for those experiencing symptoms to receiving a diagnosis.1 This Dementia Action Week, the aim is to encourage those who might be living with undiagnosed dementia, or close to someone with undiagnosed dementia to: 

• Understand and recognise the key dementia symptoms 

• Seek guidance and support 

• Feel empowered to take the next step 

• Improve the diagnosis process for both the patient and healthcare professionals  

By raising awareness of this condition, it is hoped that more people will be diagnosed earlier, giving more time for them to come to terms with future symptoms.