Findings of a nationwide study conducted by social care start-up Cera Care have revealed that just one in ten Brits are able to spot the early symptoms of dementia. This is despite more than 850,000 people currently living with dementia in the UK, with someone developing symptoms every three minutes.
More than 2,000 members of the British public were shown a number of symptoms and asked to select only ailments associated with dementia. Nine out of ten participants failed to highlight the correct warning signs, with 34% believing balance problems were a symptom, and an additional 23% believing there to be a link between dementia and sleeping problems – neither of which stand true.
The study also revealed many misconceptions surrounding dementia, with 82% of respondents believing that dementia is one specific disease, where it is actually an umbrella term for a number of different ailments.
Additional misconceptions from the survey include:
- People with dementia don't understand what's happening around them (79%)
- Only the elderly can get dementia (74%)
- Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease are the same thing (67%)
- Dementia is a normal part of ageing (66%)
Sarah McEwan, Head of Training and Recruitment at Cera Care, said: "Dementia is one of the UK's biggest killers, and we know that families around the country often struggle to pick up on the tell-tale signs of the condition in its early stages. It's a common misconception that some form of dementia is just a normal part of the ageing process, so symptoms are often overlooked, making it harder to treat any underlying causes. Professional evaluation may detect a treatable condition, and even if symptoms suggest dementia, early diagnosis allows a person to get the maximum benefit from available treatments.
"One of the most well-known symptoms of dementia is memory-loss, but this is just one in a long list of possible signs. Sufferers can often also be affected by sudden mood changes, confusion around time and place, difficulty concentrating, and finding it hard to carry out familiar household tasks. Anyone exhibiting any of these symptoms should visit a health professional to find out the cause and make sure they receive the right treatment."
As well as looking into dementia in general, during the study researchers at Cera Care also asked participants about their knowledge of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease. Looking at Alzheimer's Disease specifically, the study showed that again there is confusion around the facts of the condition, with just 13% correctly identifying at least five of the symptoms.
Cera Care has compiled a guide for those who'd like more information on the different kinds of dementia and the symptoms that they can cause. The guide can be viewed here.
Picture (c) Kirsty O'Connor / PA Wire.