Diagnosing dementia

Dementia patients show a decline in thinking skills or cognitive abilities. Sometimes these can be severe enough to affect daily life and independent living.

Worried someone has dementia?

If you are worried about a friend or family member who you know is becoming increasingly forgetful, encourage them to speak to a GP to talk about the early signs of dementia. There are other reasons why someone might be experiencing memory loss. However, if dementia is found early, its progress can be slowed down in some cases, so the person may be able to maintain their mental function for longer.

You may like to suggest you go with your friend or relative to see a GP so you can support them. You'll also be able to help them recall what has been discussed.


Memory loss is not the only sign of dementia, yet it is one of the main signs. Some of the other signs of dementia include:

  • increasing difficulty with daily tasks and activities that require concentration and planning
  • periods of mental confusion and loss of understanding
  • language, such as using words incorrectly, or trouble speaking, difficulty finding the right words or not being able to understand conversations as easily
  • memory loss
  • thinking speed
  • mental sharpness and quickness
  • changes in personality and mood
  • judgement
  • movement.

For more information on how to talk to someone you think has signs of dementia, visit the NHS website.

Diagnostic Memory Clinic - older people

A multi-disciplinary team and joint clinic run by East London Foundation Trust provides initial assessment and diagnosis of dementia and cognitive impairment in people of all ages, although most service users are aged over 65.

The DMC is based at The Robinson Centre in Mile End Hospital, telephone: 020 8121 5650. 

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