Dementia: Early Signs and Symptoms campaign

The Government has recently launched a Dementia: Early Signs and Symptoms campaign which builds on last year’s Living Well with Dementia campaign.

The national Early Signs and Symptoms campaign encourages people to recognise the signs and symptoms of dementia and to speak to their GP if they have any concerns. The national campaign will incorporate TV, radio and print advertising. The campaign will run from 7 November to 18 December 2011. Watch the TV advert.

In England, fewer than 40 per cent of people with dementia have received a diagnosis. Not being diagnosed, or receiving a diagnosis late in the day, could mean a poorer quality of life for the patient and their loved ones.

The signs and symptoms of dementia can be spotted early and this campaign is aimed at improving the quality of life of those with the condition, to ensure that they live well for as long as possible.

Key messages

  • Early diagnosis means better quality of life.
  • Memory problems are not an inevitable part of getting older. Symptoms include:
    • forgetting the names of friends or everyday objects
    • a person repeating things or losing the thread of what they are saying
    • feeling confused even when in a familiar environment
  • If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, speak to your GP.
  • Treatment and support services are available.
  • People with dementia can and do live well.

As part of the campaign, a communications toolkit has been developed to provide information and resources to those organisations or groups with an interest in dementia and those affected by the condition. The pack contains communications advice, facts and stats, key messages and templates, to help you share campaign information with your stakeholders, partners and local media. It also includes a campaign timeline to help you when planning your communications activities. Download the toolkit.

Some of the early signs and symptoms of dementia include:

  • struggling to remember recent events, although a person can easily recall things that happened in the past
  • finding it hard to follow conversations or programmes on TV
  • forgetting the names of friends or everyday objects
  • difficulty recalling things that have been heard, seen or read
  • a person repeating things or losing the thread of what they are saying
  • problems with thinking and reasoning
  • feeling anxious, depressed or angry about memory loss
  • finding that other people start to comment on a person’s memory loss
  • feeling confused even when in a familiar environment

National Clinical Director for Dementia, Professor Alistair Burns said:

“Getting a timely diagnosis of dementia is vital and we know that those who do receive one don’t regret it. On the contrary, knowing about their condition helps them gain control and allows them and their families to seek the services and support they need.

Timely early diagnosis and supportive interventions allow people to plan for the future while they still can. They have been shown to reduce care home admissions and improve the quality, not only of the life of the person with dementia, but also their family, carers and friends.”

Watch the video below in which Professor Alistair Burns talks about how the dementia awareness campaign is highlighting the importance of an early diagnosis.

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said:

“As the number of people with dementia increases, it is vital we all take time to understand and talk about the condition. People with dementia and their families often tell us they were fearful of seeking a diagnosis. However a diagnosis opened the door to support, treatment and information they wouldn’t otherwise have had access to and helped them plan for the future.

This campaign has the potential to make a huge difference and Alzheimer’s Society is delighted to support it. If you are worried about your own or a loved one’s memory you should talk to your GP.”

For further information about the signs and symptoms of dementia, please visit or