What to look for with memory problems
If memory loss and unusual behaviour comes on very quickly (in a matter of weeks or sooner) then there is cause for immediate concern - this can be because of infection, a side effect from prescribed medication or sign of a more serious physical problem. These should be treated without delay. Please see your GP as soon as possible.
If memory loss and changes in behaviour happen slowly (over months/ years) and have begun to affect daily life (are causing you or others concern), then it is possible they are a symptom of dementia.
See 10 warning signs of dementia for more information.
Dementia is a very common problem in older age. It is estimated that up to one in three people over 85 years of age has a form of dementia. Much more rarely, it can start in our 40s, 50s and 60s.
All symptoms can also be a result of other causes, such as depression, so it is essential to see your GP who will diagnose the problem as soon as possible.
Going to see your GP
When you go to see your GP, prepare beforehand. Make a list of the concerns you have and the questions you want to ask. We all know what it's like to come away from the doctor's thinking of the things we wish we'd said! If you do have questions or there were things you didn't understand, don't be afraid to go back.