A 3rd of people that discover dementia signs in themselves or a cherished one preserve quiet about it for a month or longer, in response to a brand new survey out of the U.Ok.

Solely 15% of the 1,100 sufferers and caregivers surveyed introduced up their observations immediately, and 11% nonetheless haven’t, in response to the survey, launched Monday by the London-based Alzheimer’s Society. Contributors included identified dementia sufferers and their caregivers, in addition to potential dementia sufferers and their caregivers.

Practically 1 / 4 of these surveyed waited greater than six months earlier than in search of medical assist, the survey discovered. The most typical cause for staying silent wasn’t nervousness in regards to the situation, which is mostly progressive. Reasonably, these affected weren’t positive precisely which signs are related to regular growing older and that are related to dementia.

Confusion, stigma, and nervousness across the situation—which can have an effect on a 3rd of people over their lifetime—delays prognosis and remedy, Kate Lee, CEO of the Alzheimer’s Society, mentioned in a information launch in regards to the research.

“We will’t proceed to keep away from the ‘d’ phrase,” she mentioned. “We have to face dementia head on.”

Learn how to inform the distinction between growing older and dementia

“Dementia is unquestionably not regular growing older,” Dr. John Schumann—government medical director of Oak Road Well being, a sequence of major care clinics that serve older adults—tells Fortune.

Dr. David Reuben, director of the Multicampus Program in Geriatrics Medication and Contrology on the UCLA David Geffen College of Medication, agrees. He equates growing older, a traditional organic phenomenon, to a “laptop processor up in your mind that doesn’t work fairly as rapidly.” An instance: When a phrase or phrase is “on the tip of your tongue,” and you end up saying, “give me a few minutes and it’ll pop again in.” Such retrieval deficits are “quite common with growing older,” he says.

Dementia is an umbrella time period for a variety of problems involving a progressive or persistent lack of mental functioning, from gentle to extreme, with Alzhermier’s being the commonest. Whereas some cognitive “slowing” can happen as part of the traditional growing older course of, signs of dementia are distinct and are indicators of illness, specialists say. 

In keeping with the Nationwide Institute on Growing old, indicators that you just or a cherished one could also be experiencing dementia—and never simply regular growing older—embody:

  • Asking the identical query repeatedly
  • Having hassle following instructions like recipes
  • Getting misplaced in a spot you understand effectively
  • Changing into more and more extra confused about time, locations, and other people
  • Not taking good care of your self, together with consuming poorly, forgetting to wash or bathe, or appearing in an unsafe method

Making a nasty choice, lacking a month-to-month cost, or shedding one thing on occasion is regular, in response to the company. However making poor selections a lot of the time, having hassle taking good care of your month-to-month payments, and misplacing issues typically (and being unable to seek out them) will not be.

What to do if you happen to’re involved about dementia

These with dementia signs ought to contact their physician, who will ask questions like when the signs started, in the event that they’ve been getting worse, and to what extent, if any, they’re interfering with day by day actions. A health care provider could select to refer a affected person for a neuropsychological examination, which might shed additional gentle on the scenario or just present a file of baseline cognitive functioning, specialists inform Fortune.

“Everybody has a slip on occasion,” Schumann says, citing the instance of a lone incident of misplaced keys. 

However signs like hassle balancing a checkbook and remembering the way to gown and groom oneself are sometimes indicators of dementia, he cautions. The excellent news: If temper adjustments or sleep disturbances aren’t current, dementia is unlikely.

Whereas the considered a dementia prognosis will be scary, many are pushing for an early prognosis, Reuben says. That’s for a number of causes. It permits one to get their affairs so as. And it additionally gives a ray of hope, since there “could also be medicine on the horizon” that may assist these with earlier stage dementia.