The GP will ask you some questions to try to find the cause of your memory problems.
It might be useful to bring someone else with you who can help describe the problems you’re having.
The GP may refer you to a memory specialist for an in-depth assessment. Further tests, such as scans, may also sometimes be needed.
Any treatment that’s recommended will depend on the cause of your memory problems.
Memory loss can just be a natural part of getting older.
Sometimes it may be caused by something common and treatable like:
- Anxiety or depression
- Sleeping problems (insomnia)
If you or someone you know is worried about becoming increasingly forgetful, particularly if they’re older than 65, you should talk to your doctor about the possibility of dementia.
Dementia is not a single illness, but a group of symptoms caused by damage to the brain
You should look out for:
- Memory loss, such as remembering past events much more easily than recent ones
- Problems thinking or reasoning, or finding it hard to follow conversations or TV programmes
- Feeling anxious, depressed or angry about memory loss, or feeling confused, even when in a familiar environment
If you’re worried about your memory, it’s well worth talking to your doctor. They may be able to reassure you that you don’t have dementia.
But if you do have dementia, an early diagnosis may help you get the right treatment and support in place in good time.
Finding our sooner rather than later can also give friends and family valuable time to adjust, and can help them prepare for the future.
The NHS website has a dementia guide, where you can find out more about dementia including symptoms and diagnosis, living with dementia, care and support and activities to help you or someone you know to live well with dementia and well-being.
There’s also lots of information on what you can do in your community. Small steps can make a real difference, such as helping friends and neighbours understand the challenges faced by people with dementia.
The Alzheimer’s Society hosts the Age UK, where you can find out more about dementia and discuss anything related to the condition with an online community.
Age UK – for older people, their families, friends and carers
- Call 0800 055 6112
- Helpline open: every day of the year, 8am to 7pm
Independent Age – for older people, including advice about care, money and health
- Call 0800 319 6789
- Helpline open: Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 6.30pm
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Silver Line – for older people
- Call 0800 4 70 80 90
- Helpline open: every day of the year, 24 hours a day
Money and benefits
The Money Advice Service – for advice about money and benefits
- Call 0800 138 7777
- Helpline open: Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Citizens Advice – for advice about money and benefits
- Call 03444 111 444
- Helpline open: Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
- Citizens Advice will not charge you to call its national phone service or helpline, however your service provider may do
If you care for someone else
Carers Direct – for carers
- Call 0300 123 1053
- Ask your question using webchat
- Helpline and webchat open: Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm and weekends, 11am to 4pm
- Get help by email
- Ask if you need a translator
Carers UK – for carers
- Call 0800 808 7777
- Helpline open: Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm