Most Dementia Sufferers Put Off GP Visit Fearing ‘Their Life Will Be Over’


More than half of people visiting their GP suffering from symptoms of dementia have put off their visit for at least a year, according to new research.

A poll carried for the Alzheimer’s Society found that 56% of 1,000 GPs had diagnosed people who had suffered with symptoms for many months, and sometimes more than a year.

The charity said that nearly two-thirds of people believe their life would be over if they were diagnosed with dementia, while nearly half (45%) believed they would immediately have to give up driving.

Nearly half (49%) of the 2,000 people surveyed for Dementia Awareness Week said they would worry that people would think they were ‘mad’, while 22% feared losing a partner or friends.

And more than a third (37%) said they would put off seeing a GP about memory problems because they think dementia is just “part of the ageing process”.


Delay: People with dementia symptoms put off seeing their GP by at least a year (Rex/posed by models)

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said that the survey showed that too many people were “in the dark” about dementia.

He said: “Many feel that a dementia diagnosis means someone is immediately incapable of living a normal life, while myths and misunderstandings continue to contribute to the stigma and isolation that many people will feel.

“This Dementia Awareness Week, we want to reassure people that life doesn’t end when dementia begins.

“We know that dementia is the most feared health condition of our time and there’s no question that it can have a profound and devastating impact on people, their family and friends - but getting a timely diagnosis will enable people with dementia to live as well as possible.”

Figures from the charity show 225,000 people will develop dementia this year - one person every three minutes.

Top pic: Rex/posed by model