Many older people need more time to assimilate information and this may affect their
capacity to learn and remember things.
Nevertheless, older people are often worried about these changes and are afraid that
they might be developing dementia.
Elizabeth Shelby, NHS Western Isles Alzheimer Scotland nurse consultant, said, “Existing
drug treatment is most effective in the early stages, so delaying diagnosis prevents
people from benefiting from the latest medical advances, which in many cases lead
to a temporary improvement of symptoms.”
In the case of older people, the symptoms of depression are very similar to those
observed in the early stages of dementia and it is not uncommon for the two to be
Sometimes, the symptoms are linked to other disorders such as thyroid gland dysfunction,
lack of vitamin B12, disorders of the metabolic system, alcohol or drug abuse, infections,
surgical operations, stress and intolerance of medication. In such cases, the symptoms
may be reversible.
Ms Shelby added: “Diagnosis is clearly essential in order to rule out other causes
for the symptoms experienced and correctly diagnose dementia.
“If you or a member of your family has concerns about memory loss, consult your general
practitioner. He or she will carry out a few tests and if suspicions are confirmed
further assessments can be arranged.”
Memory clinics to help with diagnosing dementia
19 February 2017
Memory clinics will shortly be offered by a number of Western Isles GP practices
to assist with dementia diagnosis.
New research suggests 75% of people are undiagnosed.
Dementia is like any other long-term health condition, in that it is extremely important
for people to obtain an early diagnosis which will lead to getting the correct management
Memory problems are not always a sign of dementia and although mental faculties change
with age, ageing is not synonymous with dementia.