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Over half of people delay seeking dementia diagnosis

Around 56% of people delay seeking a diagnosis of dementia for as much as a year, a survey by the Alzheimer's society has found

Around 56% of people delay seeking a diagnosis of dementia for as long as a year, a survey by the Alzheimer’s Society has found.

Sixty-two per cent of respondents thought that a diagnosis of the condition meant their life was over. A further 24% thought that people who received a dementia diagnosis would instantly have to stop going out for a walk on their own and 45% thought they would have to immediately stop driving a car. Additionally, 58% thought they would personally struggle to join in conversations post-diagnosis and 49% worried people would think they were ‘mad’.

‘Too many people are in the dark about dementia – many feel that a dementia diagnosis means someone is immediately incapable of living a normal life, while myths and misunderstandings continue to contribute to the stigma and isolation that many people will feel,’ said Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Society. ‘We know that dementia is the most feared health condition of our time and there’s no question that it can have a profound and devastating impact on people, their family and friends – but getting a timely diagnosis will enable people with dementia to live as well as possible.’

Over half of people surveyed thought a dementia diagnosis meant they will no longer be able to enjoy the things they used to, 22% of people fear they would lose their partner or friends.

One in three said they would put off seeking medical attention from a GP about memory problems because they think dementia is just 'a part of the ageing process'. Another 68% thought they would no longer be the same person if they were diagnosed with dementia. The survey also found that almost two thirds did not think that they could seek help and support from a charity when they, or a person close to them, develops dementia.

The data was collected by YouGov on behalf of the Alzhiemer's Society based on a survey of 2070 adults.