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Luton Borough Council

Dementia and memory loss


Memory loss is often a symptom of dementia, but it doesn’t always mean that if you are experiencing memory loss you will develop dementia.

As we get older we may all experience a little memory loss. This does not mean everyone will develop dementia; in fact many physical illnesses which can cause memory problems are resolved when a doctor treats the illness.

Consult a GP for early diagnosis

If you are concerned about your persistent forgetfulness - or the memory difficulties of a friend or family member - it is important to consult a GP. He or she can do a simple memory test, a physical examination and order blood tests. They can then refer you to a specialist team or a memory clinic to test your memory in more detail and arrange a brain scan if needed.
There are some simple practical steps to help with memory problems:
  • use a diary and make lists to help you remember appointments
  • keep your mind active by reading or doing crossword puzzles, Sudokus and other mind exercises
  • get regular physical exercise
  • eat a healthy diet

What is dementia?

Dementia is a brain disease which manifests itself initially in memory problems, but goes on to affect many other parts of the brain, meaning a person could:
  • have difficulty organising daily activities, prioritising tasks and communicating with others
  • experience changes in their mood, judgement or personality
  • have trouble making decisions
  • start making excuses for their forgetfulness
  • have difficulties with short-term memory while distant memory remains good
Dementia is progressive – the symptoms will get worse over time. Although there is no cure, treatments can slow the progression of the disease, and there are ways of helping to keep it manageable.
With dementia you tend to have to rely on other people more and more as the illness progresses. It is much more common in older people, but can start as early as 40.

Local services for people with dementia and memory loss

Your GP can refer you to a specialist team or a memory clinic who will test your memory in more detail and arrange a brain scan if needed. In Luton we have the Memory Assessment Clinic at Limetrees.
You can read more about the Memory Assessment Clinic by downloading the leaflet at the bottom of this page.
There is a range of services and support available to you from our adult social care services, the NHS, and from voluntary agencies.
Some examples of services and support to help you live as independently as possible with dementia, include:
  • specialist day centres
  • short breaks (previously known as ‘respite’ care)
  • assistive technology and community alarms
  • home care
  • meals at home
  • community equipment
  • extra care sheltered housing
  • carers support groups
If you are eligible for support, we will need to have a look at your individual situation. We do this through an assessment of care needs. We will work with you to find the best support for you. You can ask for an assessment by contacting us on the numbers below.

The more support you can give someone, the better life with dementia can be, especially in the early years. Too often people fear dementia and this causes them to avoid people with the condition – making people with dementia feel isolated and stigmatised. With the right support, people can live well with the condition and continue to do the things they enjoy for a number of years following diagnosis.

If you know someone who is worried about their memory encourage them to visit their GP

How you can help someone with dementia

  • focus on what the person can do, not what they cannot do
  • help with little errands
  • listen to the person with dementia
  • find out more about the condition

When someone has dementia, they need:

  • reassurance that they are still valued and that their feelings matter
  • freedom from as much external stress as possible
  • appropriate activities and stimulation to help them to remain alert and motivated for as long as possible
A person with dementia is not being deliberately difficult: often their behaviour is an attempt to communicate. If you can establish what this is, you can resolve their concerns more quickly. Try to put yourself in their place and understand what they are trying to express and how they might be feeling.

Luton Dementia Action Alliance (LDAA)

Luton Dementia Action Alliance (LDAA) is a collection of individuals and organisations from the private and public sectors who want to work together to make improvements for those with dementia and their carers. Its ultimate aim is to make Luton a dementia-friendly community. You can find out more by visiting our Luton Dementia Action Alliance page.

You can download a copy of our dementia strategy from the bottom of this page. Further documents are available in our Adult Social Care: policies and strategies section.

Contact info
Customer Services Centre
Luton Borough Council, Town Hall, George Street, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU1 2BQ
Tel: 01582 547659 or 547660


© 2024 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ