• One in two dementia sufferers don’t know that they have it;
  • Cases set to increase by 65% in Edinburgh by 2034;
  • Campaign will highlight the support and advice already available.

With cases of dementia predicted to more than double in Edinburgh, a multi-agency campaign urging people to recognise the signs and to seek help and support was launched today .

Recognising the Signs has been set up by the City of Edinburgh Council, Alzheimer Scotland and NHS Lothian to tackle the growing numbers of people with dementia.

The partnership aims to improve the quality of life for all people living with dementia and help them to live as independently as possible in their own communities.

The campaign will include extensive advertising and will teach people how to recognise symptoms, as well as highlighting the existing dementia support available in the capital. It will form the basis of plans to make Edinburgh an official “dementia friendly” city.

It is estimated that around 7,700 people over the age of 65 with dementia are living in Edinburgh. In the next 20 years, this is forecast to rise by 65% to over 12,000.

One in three people are thought to be living with dementia without being diagnosed and the Recognising the Signs campaign will encourage those who think that they, or friends and family, might have symptoms to get advice.

Symptoms can include:

  • short-term memory loss that affects daily life;
  • unexplained anxiety or depression;
  • problems with thinking or reasoning, such as finding it hard to follow conversations or TV programmes.

Following diagnosis, patients in Edinburgh can choose to receive a year of post diagnostic support to help them come to terms with their illness, plan for the future and help them to live as well as possible.

Specially recruited link workers make sure that people with dementia and their carers do not become isolated, and ensure that they receive the right level of support.

Convener of Health, Wellbeing & Housing – Ricky Henderson
Convener of Health, Wellbeing & Housing – Ricky Henderson

Health and Wellbeing Convener, Councillor Ricky Henderson, said: “Dementia affects thousands of people in Edinburgh and can have a life changing effect on the person, their family and friends. It is extremely important that, when diagnosed, people are offered the right support and help to plan for the future.

“Symptoms should not be ignored and must be checked out, as early diagnosis can make a big difference to someone’s life. The Recognising the Signs campaign shows that there is plenty of help and support out there so that patients do not have to face this on their own.”

Helen Hay, Regional Manager of Alzheimer Scotland, said: “Getting a timely diagnosis is hugely important for people with dementia and for those closest to them. It opens up access to information, advice and support; all of which are vital in planning for the future.

“This campaign is a fantastic opportunity not only to improve support for people in the early stages of their dementia journey, but also to make the public of Edinburgh more aware of the impact of dementia and the many ways we can all help those affected by the illness.”

Linda Irvine, Strategic Programme Manager, Mental Health and Wellbeing, NHS Lothian, said: “The earlier the signs of dementia are recognised, the sooner we can work with partners in the City of Edinburgh Council and Alzheimer Scotland to help those living with dementia as well as supporting their carers.

“We would encourage everyone to read about the Recognising the Signs campaign and to get checked if you’re concerned.”