There are an estimated 10,000 people living with dementia in Greater Bristol – and that figure is expected to triple in the next 50 years. But the fear is that there could be thousands of people in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire who have not been diagnosed.
Despite this, significant progress is being made in improving services for dementia sufferers and their carers, according to health chiefs. Richard Lyle, programme director for urgent care and older people at NHS Bristol, said they are doing all they can to find a diagnosis for more than 2,000 undiagnosed cases in the city. He said some people may not want to admit to themselves that symptoms they are suffering could be a sign of the disease.
Mr Lyle said:
“Unfortunately there is still a lot of stigma around dementia plus widespread lack of awareness about its causes and how people can be supported. This can put people off getting the right help and so also create a barrier to early diagnosis. We are working with the council, local charities and other community groups on a plan of action to raise awareness levels and make sure the right level of care and support is available.
Dementia affects a lot of families in Bristol and most of us will know someone who has had or has the illness. We want to make sure that anyone worried about their memory gets checked out earlier rather than later. The good news is that if people get diagnosed in time there are a range of support and treatments options available from medication to just having someone to talk to turn to for advice.”
NHS Bristol have a stall set up in the centre of Broadmead on Wednesday 7th July, staffed by members of the memory service and community mental health team to help advise people who may have concerns about themselves or relatives. People with concerns can visit their GP or contact a dementia advisor for more information on 0117 961 0693.