A woman has spoken about the importance of getting an early dementia diagnosis.

This is to coincide with this year’s Dementia Action Week’s theme of diagnosis.

A week launched by the Alzheimer’s Society, they have taken this week as an opportunity to highlight important statistics to promote their cause.

A spokesperson from the Alzheimer’s Society said: “There are approximately 7500 people with a dementia diagnosis in Cumbria and 900,000 across the UK, this is set to rise to 1million by 2025.

 “Diagnosis rates are at a five year low nationally with an estimated 30,000 people who would have been diagnosed had the pandemic not happened.”

Martina Davies, 64, from Carlisle, lives with a rare form of dementia called posterior cortical atrophy (PCA).

She explained the benefit of getting an early diagnosis while describing the effects of her dementia: “Most of the GPs, when you initially go to them, the only route that they can take is anything that’s memory led, so getting a diagnosis can actually take quite a long time for the rarer dementias, and in the meantime, you’re living with decline and impossible situations where you can’t work out what’s happening to you.

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“In the very early stages, I lost the ability to write with my left hand.

“I wondered what was happening and I taught myself to write with my right hand.

“Then things started happening with things that I’m normally very good with, like accounting and bookkeeping, and I found I lost those capabilities.

“Nothing made sense, so getting a diagnosis in the early stages is very important because you can then start to put your life back together.

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“You finally have an understanding and when I got my diagnosis the bottom had already dropped out of my world because I didn’t know what was going on, so it was almost a relief to know what was wrong with me because then I could start working with who I was becoming and the capabilities I had now.

“Since then, I have had to constantly work at solution finding.

“Any problems I had daily I have to tweak; in some respects, I’m reaching the stage now where there is no re-tweaking.

“Having an early diagnosis means you can make the most of what you’ve got and have a quality of life.

“It’s a very hard thing to accept, but if you don’t accept it, you’re going to miss out on any quality that you can keep.”

Local support in Cumbria is provided by a team of Dementia Support Workers.

Email cumbria@alzheimers.org.uk or call 01228 819299.

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