According to the Alzheimer’s Society there are 750,000 people in the UK suffering with dementia with many cases going undiagnosed and many individuals not receiving the care they need.
In order to combat this growing number and provide better care for sufferers, leading charity the Alzheimer’s Society have recommended that the NHS offer check for dementia when people reach 75.
With numbers set to soar to more than a million by 2021, the Alzheimer’s Society say it is essential we identify those who need help quickly and efficiently, and the charity’s director of research Clive Ballard says that a diagnosis is fundamental to ensuring the right treatment and care are given.
“Really the only way we’re going to improve identification is through effective screening, and probably the right time to do that screening is over the age of 75 once dementia starts to become more common”. He said.
Ballard is proposing that individuals be offered a cognitive test at their local doctor’s surgery with questions based on time, date, place, memory and understanding which would later be backed up by an interview with a relative or carer.
If dementia is suspected, patients would then be referred to a specialist for a full assessment.
The British Medical Associations Dr Laurence Buckman says that though the screening is a good idea, many doctors would struggle to find the time and it would mean less time for other services.