Dementia describes a collection of symptoms caused by disorders affecting the brain. It is not one specific disease.

Most people equate dementia to changes in memory, however these changes can have a number of other possible causes that include stress, depression, pain, chronic illness, medication or alcohol… and sometimes it is an early sign of dementia.

No two people experience dementia in the same way and it can affect:

  • thinking, impacting on decision making.
  • memory, particularly short term.
  • judging distances, often seen in our driving.
  • how we respond to situations, often changing people’s usual behaviours, which interferes with our social or working lives.

If you or a family member are experiencing changes with memory or thinking, it is important to see a GP early to get the right diagnosis.

Diagnosing dementia requires further investigations and may take some time. You and your family need time to adjust and start to prepare. The Living with Dementia on the North Coast booklet will help step you through the journey.

Most people lead active and fulfilling lives for many years after diagnosis.

Your first steps are:

  • Talk to your GP or
  • Call Dementia Australia’s National Dementia Helpline: 1800 100 500 (An interpreter service is available) or
  • Download our local booklet above, Living with Dementia on the North Coast

The National Health Services Directory provides information about local dementia service providers. Simply look for ‘more services’ at the bottom of the list, add your postcode and search for ‘dementia’ to see results.