DEMENTIA describes different brain disorders that trigger a loss of brain function – the most common being Alzheimer’s.
ALZHEIMER’S sufferers are being failed twice over as they struggle to get a diagnosis and then to get help.
More than 10,000 people in Lincolnshire are believed to be suffering from the condition, but less than 40 per cent have received a proper diagnosis.
And spending cuts mean if they do get a diagnosis, vital support services are limited.
The stark picture of the situation facing sufferers has been painted by the Lincolnshire spokesman for the Alzheimer’s Society as the Government launches a campaign to raise awareness
Ian Howarth, East Midlands area manager, said: “The future for people with Alzheimer’s is very bleak.
“People often approach their GP with symptoms, but they can’t or won’t give a diagnosis because there is nothing they can offer them, so they just let them drift into old age.
“As a result people are left to their own devices, and because of the rural nature of Lincolnshire and the lack of infrastructure, there are a lot of people left floundering in their communities who are scared and confused.”
Mr Howarth claims that has a knock-on financial effect on the NHS as carers become ill and depressed and sufferers require emergency respite care.
But he fears that £140,000 earmarked by the Department of Health for memory assessment services in Lincolnshire will “disappear” to offset the current overspend.
He said: “That would be morally wrong.”
Mr Howarth is hoping the new national campaign will help sufferers to get a diagnosis and take the first step to receiving help that can enable them to stay in their own homes longer.
The £2m TV, radio and print advertising campaign has been launched ahead of the festive season when families are likely to spend more time together and aims to make people more aware of the symptoms to look out for.
Government care services minister Paul Burstow said: “People are afraid of dementia and rather than face the possibility someone they love has it, they wrongly put memory problems down to ‘senior moments’.
“But, if you are worried, the sooner you discuss it and seek support the better. Don’t wait until a crisis.
“Being diagnosed with dementia won’t make the condition worse but leaving it untreated will.”