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What is dementia?

Dementia is a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease or a series of strokes.

Dementia causes a progressive decline in people's ability to think, reason, communicate and remember. Their personality, behaviour and mood can also be affected. Everyone's experience of dementia is unique and the progression of the condition varies. There are many different types of dementia although some are far more common than others. Some symptoms are more likely to occur with certain types of dementia.

Dementia affects over 800,000 people in the UK. It is not a disease in its own right and it is not a natural part of ageing. 

Below you will find a collection of resources and supports available for anyone in Glasgow that has been diagnosed with Dementia.

Dementia diagnosis

Diagnosing dementia is often difficult, particularly in the early stages. If you are worried about dementia in relation to yourself, or someone you know, then you should speak to your GP. The GP may then make a referral to a specialist consultant.

Assessments can include conversations with the person being diagnosed and those close to them, a physical examination, memory tests and/or brain scans.

Becoming forgetful does not necessarily mean that you have dementia. Memory loss can be an effect of ageing. It can also be a symptom of stress or depression. In rare cases, dementia-like symptoms can be caused by vitamin deficiencies and/or a brain tumour.

A diagnosis of dementia can cause a range of emotions. The news might come as a shock, or, for some people, it may bring a sense of relief as it provides an explanation for the problems they have been experiencing. It can also have a big impact on family and friends.

If you, or someone close to you, have recently been diagnosed with dementia, you might be feeling angry, frustrated, worried, fearful, sad, embarrassed, lonely, guilty or even relieved. Everyone is different, but all these reactions are possible at different times and they are all normal. How you feel will probably vary from one day to the next.

Information on providers of dementia services is available below.

Dementia services available

Dementia post diagnosis support

The service provides 1:1 support for people with a new diagnosis of dementia and their carers. Support will be provided by a named dementia link worker for the minimum of a year. Link working can be provided by Alzheimer Scotland or mental health staff, Services are based in Older Peoples Mental Health teams. Referral to the Post Diagnosis Service can be made through your GP.

Information on providers of dementia services is available.

The Young Onset Dementia Service

The Young Onset Dementia Service works with people who are under the age of 65 with a diagnosis of dementia, living within the NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Board Area. The service provides specialist support and rehabilitation for the person with dementia and/or their family and carers.

You can access this service through your local community mental health teams. Your GP cannot refer you directly to the service.

Other supports

Alzheimer Scotland can advise on some aspects of work and finances, but people with dementia and carers might need specialist advice. 

Types of dementia

There are many different types of dementia although some are far more common than others. They are often named according to the condition that has caused the dementia. Some of the more common types are outlined below.

Alzheimer's Disease

This is the most common type of dementia. During the course of the disease, individual brain cells become damaged. The numbers gradually increase over time so the brain starts to function less well. It starts slowly, and the decline can happen over a number of years. It usually affects short-term memory first.

Vascular Dementia

This is the second most common type of dementia. If the oxygen supply to the brain fails, brain cells may die. The symptoms of vascular dementia can occur either suddenly, following a stroke, or over time, through a series of small strokes.

Lewy Bodies Dementia

This form of dementia gets its name from tiny spherical structures that develop inside nerve cells. Their presence in the brain leads to the degeneration of brain tissue. This causes the brain to function less well in sending and receiving messages.

Fronto-temporal Dementia

In fronto-temporal dementia, damage is usually focused in the front part and side parts of the brain. Personality and behavior are initially more affected than memory.

Younger/early onset dementia

Early young onset dementia usually affects people who are between 30 and 65 years old. It is also referred to as 'working age' dementia. There are more that 40,000 younger people with dementia in the UK.

Dementia that affects younger people can be rare and difficult to recognise. People can also be very reluctant to accept there is anything wrong when they are otherwise fit and well, and they may put off visiting their doctor.

Dementia is a life-changing condition to have at any age, but when you are young and believe you have a long and full life ahead of you, it is all the more difficult to take in.


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Last modified on 24 April 2024

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