DEMENTIA champions are urging family doctors across Redditch and Bromsgrove to sign up to a pilot scheme assisting people who may be experiencing early signs of the condition before the age of 65.
With dementia affecting around 2,473 people locally, young onset dementia officer Jenny La Fontaine is hoping to bring the scheme to GP surgeries across the borough for a three-month period.
The pilot will see people who report concerns receive a questionnaire asking about how they cope on a day-to-day basis in a variety of situations.
A similar questionnaire will also be given to someone who knows the individual well and the two will be encouraged to fill in the respective forms separately.
Jenny added the pilot began as a focus on young people with dementia.
“The types of dementia in young people is different and so there are particular changes with detecting it in people of a younger age,” she said.
“For example to be worried about your memory may not be relevant to young people – a number of young people’s symptoms are often explained away as stress, depression or anxiety.”
But it is not just young people who are the target of the pilot.
The questionnaires are designed to help anyone experiencing changes in one or more areas such as reasoning, memory, attention and language – over the last six months, along with those who have persisting difficulties after treatment for a mood disorder.
With 908 Redditch residents living with dementia, and a further 1,565 people dealing with the condition in Bromsgrove, which has an older population, Jenny hopes the pilot will increase the opportunity for people to have a referral that is right for them, and – where required – get a diagnosis.