“People don’t know what dementia is and it’s a bit scary at first…Slowly, I found I was becoming more confident and positive, learning coping strategies and picking up things.”
(Bob, person living with dementia and member of the Leeds Peer support network, download his story from this page.)
Dementia describes a set of symptoms which include loss of memory, mood changes, and problems with communication and reasoning. The risk of developing dementia increases with age, but most people will not develop it - the rate of dementia amongst people aged 65-69 is estimated at just over 1%; at age 85-89 it is 20%.
Some forgetfulness is normal for everyone, perhaps if we are busy, distracted or stressed, or as we get older. It is when increased confusion or memory problems are having a significant impact on daily lives that we should seek advice and help. If you are worried about your memory, make an appointment to see your GP. Although some people might feel scared or embarrassed talking about memory problems, seeing a GP can make all the difference. There are a number of treatable medical conditions that can cause memory problems and it is important to rule these out as soon as possible. If it is dementia, getting an early diagnosis puts you in control and allows you to access advice, information and support.
Local services in Leeds
Dementia is a condition which we fear, for ourselves and our loved ones; and caring for a person with dementia can be difficult, emotionally and physically. But there is a lot of help available to stay well and active. Website links are on the right, unless otherwise stated.
- You can find out about local services, including dementia cafes and activities, from the Leeds Alzheimer’s Society. (For any type of dementia, not just Alzheimer’s disease).
- The Leeds Directory is a searchable list of organisations that can help you live more independently.
- The Leeds Memory Service is accessed via your GP. It provides specialist assessment, diagnosis, treatment and support for people experiencing memory problems.
- The Leeds Dementia Peer Support Service runs activities and support groups. Download the leaflet from this page about living with dementia. Carers Leeds runs groups for carers of someone with dementia. They can also offer support if you are worried about someone, or if the person with possible dementia is not acknowledging any problems.
- The Leeds Telecare service provides a range of equipment and technology that can help with personal safety. See related pages on the left hand side.
- Leeds Care and Repair can help with a range of services including home security, falls prevention and adaptations.
- West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue offer free safety checks. The website link is on the right.
- Advocacy services can help with decision making and planning for the future, taking action to help you say what you want, secure your rights, represent your interests and obtain services you need. All advocacy services in Leeds can be contacted through Advonet, who will help choose the right service for you.
- Adult social care offers assessment and advice, which can lead to a range of services to help with personal care, day services or carers’ breaks. See related pages.
- The Leeds Centre for Integrated Living can help you plan and design your own support, either with your own funds, or an individual budget from adult social care.
- Leeds and York Partnership NHS Trust run many services for people with dementia.
The Leeds Dementia Action Alliance brings together community groups, businesses and others who want to work for a “dementia-friendly” Leeds. To sign up, you have to commit to taking action which does not need to be complicated or difficult. You could have a dementia awareness talk from the Leeds Alzheimer’s Society, make improvements to lighting and signage in a shop, or even set up a neighbourhood group or initiative. You can sign up for the national and local Dementia Action Alliance on the link on the right.
As an individual, you can register as a “Dementia friend”, with free information and training sessions.
If you want to know more about the “dementia journey” in Leeds and what we are doing to improve it, our local strategy, Living Well with Dementia in Leeds, and action plan are available to download from this page.