What is it?
Dementia causes a decline in brain function. It affects parts of the brain like memory, thinking, learning, language, swallowing and being able to go to the toilet. People with dementia may change the way they behave or react to things.
There are a few forms of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form. Alzheimer’s gets worse with time. Dementia is not a normal part of ageing. It is different to mild decline. There is no cure, but treatments can help slow the disease and treat symptoms.
What will my GP do now?
You and your GP may talk about the next steps. Your GP may also:
- Arrange for tests which will provide more detail about the type of dementia you have
- Exclude any other health issues
- Talk to you about lifestyle changes that can help
- Give you a list of supports so you can learn more
- Give medication if needed
Your GP will also tell you how you can control any risks for other health issues common in people with dementia. Some medications can make brain function worse. Your GP may look at your medications and side effects. Your GP may also talk to you about mild cognitive impairment and advance care planning.
Your GP may also help you manage your mental health and find supports if you are feeling scared or anxious.
What will my GP do in the future?
Your GP may see you again to check your symptoms and talk over the results of any tests. You may need to see a specialist or local health service. If, at any stage, your symptoms become worse, book a check-up with your GP. Your treatment plan will depend on the type of dementia you have and how serious it is.
What can I do?
Being told you have dementia can be scary and stressful. But there are things you can do now to look after your health and plan for the future. Read up about dementia, and think about who you may want to talk to. Ask your GP about supports and guides that can help you plan your next steps. Think about what this all means for your work, money, family and future health care. Ask your GP about advance care planning.
Living a healthy lifestyle will support your long-term health. Here are some things you can do now:
- Follow any lifestyle changes your GP suggests
- Eat a diet full of fresh, healthy foods
- Keep to a normal weight
- Drink plenty of water
- Move daily, and talk to your GP about the best workout for you