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Getting dementia

What is dementia?

Dementia is not a single illness but a group of symptoms caused by damage to the brain. It is more common in people over 65, but dementia can also affect younger people.

The symptoms of dementia can include loss of memory, confusion and difficulties with thinking things through, problem-solving and language. Sometimes people are affected by changes in mood or behaviour which is out of character.

Dementia is caused by a number of different diseases of the brain, the most common being Alzheimer’s disease.

Vascular dementia is the second most common type. Conditions such as high blood pressure, heart problems, high cholesterol and diabetes can all increase the chances of developing vascular dementia. It is important these conditions are identified at the earliest opportunity as there may be treatment and support available.

Read more about dementia on the Alzheimer Society website.

What signs should I look out for?

You should seek medical advice without delay if your memory loss is affecting daily life and especially if you:

  • struggle to remember recent events, although you can easily recall things that happened in the past
  • find it hard to follow conversations or programmes on TV
  • forget the names of friends or everyday objects
  • cannot recall things you have heard, seen or read
  • lose the thread of what you are saying
  • have problems thinking and reasoning
  • feel anxious, depressed or angry
  • feel confused even when in a familiar environment or get lost on familiar journeys
  • find that other people start to notice or comment on your memory loss.

Getting help

What should I do if I am worried?

If you are worried about your memory talk to your GP. They will listen to your concerns and possibly arrange for further investigation. You may be referred to a local memory clinic or hospital specialist for assessment where a formal diagnosis can be made.

If you are concerned about the memory of someone close to you, encourage them to visit their GP. You might start the conversation by gently asking the person if they’ve been feeling any different from usual or are struggling with anything. If you know who their GP is you can contact the surgery and request a review and referral to the Memory Service at the Woodland Centre. A meeting with the GP would check that there are no other physical conditions that may be affecting their memory.

If you do not know who their GP is you can refer:

  • Through the CNWL Single Point of Access on 0800 0234 650 which operates 24 hours/7 days a week


  • Contact the Woodland Centre on 01895 891073, from Monday to Friday,  9am to 5pm and speak to Jennifer Grogan, Community Mental Health Team and Memory Service Manager.

It’s important to know that there are many reasons for memory loss apart from dementia. These can include depression, infections and vitamin and thyroid deficiencies. The earlier you seek help the better, as there may be support or treatment available that can help you.

If you think you qualify for help from social services under the Care Act or you would like to find out if you are entitled to any services, you can ask for an assessment from the council. They can signpost you to relevant services or work with you to arrange or provide services to support you at home. You can do the assessment online by clicking here.

What next?

Whether a diagnosis of dementia comes as a shock or confirms your suspicions, you may experience a range of emotions – you might feel frightened, angry, worried, sad or frustrated. However, you may also be relieved to find there is a medical reason for the memory problems.

In some cases a specialist may be able to prescribe drugs that can lessen symptoms for a while. You should also be offered the chance to attend groups or take part in activities that may help you and any carer to cope better.

Although there is currently no cure for dementia, with treatment, advice and support, many people who have the condition lead active, fulfilling lives.

The Hillingdon Admiral Nurse Service

The Hillingdon Admiral Nurse Service works with families affected by dementia in the community. The adopt a holistic approach with the aim to empower family carers and encourage problem solving approaches as well as providing psychological support.

The Hillingdon Admiral Nurse Team is based at the Civic Centre in Uxbridge and operates on the following criteria:

  • The person cared for should have a diagnosis of dementia or is very likely to have a dementia.
  • The person with dementia must live in the London Borough of Hillingdon.
  • The carer has a significant role in caring for that person and is unpaid.
  • The person with dementia is not currently in full time care and there are no plans for the person with dementia to go into full time care.
  • When there is a carer/person with dementia conflict, or a conflict exists within the family, which significantly affects the carers ability to care for the person with dementia.
  • Where there is a difficulty understanding or coming to terms with the diagnosis that is significantly affecting the carers wellbeing or ability to cope.
  • When there is an emotional support need for the carer (i.e. the carer requires significant help to explore feelings of loss or grief associated with caring).

Professionals and informal carers can call The Admiral Nurse Team on 01895 556480 to make a referral.

For more information, you can visit dementiauk.org

Available support

Read more about the support available from the Alzheimer's Society locally for individuals and their carers.

Reading Well for Dementia books in libraries, visit your local library to find a variety of information books on dementia but also reminiscence books for people living with dementia. If you are unable to visit the library find out more about the home library service.

The council website contains some useful information about dementia including details of the Dementia friends meetings at Uxbridge library and Botwell library. You can ring 01895 277137 for information or review the older peoples events page for the latest events and support groups.

Mental health services are provided by Central and North West London NHS foundation trust and can be accessed via your GP, read more about what is available.

Your local pharmacists plays a key role in providing quality healthcare. They are experts in medicines and will use their clinical expertise, together with their practical knowledge, to ensure the safe supply and use of medicines there is no need to make an appointment. Find out where your nearest pharmacist is and the services they provide.

Unforgettable.org is a useful website which specialises in memory and dementia products.

The Counselling Directory offers helpful information and advice specific to those suffering from dementia as well as to those who support them.

Dementia Friends

Dementia Friends

Hillingdon Council is encouraging residents to support people living with dementia to live well for longer by becoming a 'Dementia Friend'.

Dementia Friends is a national initiative, launched by the Alzheimer's Society, in partnership with Public health England, to help people develop an understanding of dementia and the small things they can do to make a difference to people living with the illness.

The council will be running information sessions to help raise awareness of the signs of dementia, give those affected more information and support and encourage people to spend time supporting other residents suffering from dementia.

Find out more information on the Dementia Friends website or call 01923 823999.

Hillingdon Dementia Action Alliance

Hillingdon Dementia Action Alliance aim to unite against dementia and make Hillingdon a Dementia Friendly Borough. They hold open meetings and everyone is welcome.

The next meetings are scheduled for 26 March 2019 and 25 June 2019 from 1:30-3:30pm in the Middlesex Suite at the Civic Centre, High Street, Uxbridge UB8 1UW.

Last reviewed: 31/01/2019

Useful links


While every care has been taken in the compilation of the information on this website, neither Hillingdon Council or PCG Care Solutions will be held responsible for any loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of using the site and any inaccuracies/errors within these pages.

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