According to the latest NHS figures, around two thirds of those estimated to have dementia in Surrey now have a formal diagnosis, the highest diagnosis rate on record. 

Depending on where you live in the county, between 67% and 69% of those estimated to have dementia had a formal diagnosis in August 2019. This is in line with national figures that show 69% of those estimated to have the condition have been diagnosed by their GP or Community Mental Health Team for Older People.

Sharon Gregory, Director of Older People’s Mental Health Services at Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said: “We’ve been expecting dementia diagnosis rates to increase for some time given the ageing population. In the UK, it is estimated that around 850,000 people currently have dementia and this is set to rise to more than one million by 2025.

“We’ve been working with GP colleagues to enable approximately 10,000 people in Surrey to have a formal dementia diagnosis. This means that around 5,000 people are still living with the condition but have not had a formal diagnosis. This is really important, because it means these people are missing out on vital support from the NHS, social care and charities like The Alzheimer’s Society.”

Having a formal diagnosis also opens up opportunities to get involved in research studies and trials.

Common early symptoms of dementia include memory loss, difficulty concentrating, finding it hard to carry out routine daily tasks, struggling to follow a conversation or find the right word, being confused about time and place and mood swings. There is a range of local support in Surrey including:

  • Dementia cafés and dementia carer support groups provide support to people living with dementia and the people looking after them. Details of local groups and activities can be found on Surrey Information Point.
  • Wellbeing centres provide information and support services relating to memory loss, dementia, and associated problems. They are open to all, whether you are concerned about yourself or others. Surrey’s wellbeing centres are in these areas:
  • Dementia navigators provide one-to-one support, information, and guidance to help people live well – whether they have a diagnosis of dementia or care for someone who does. Contact The Alzheimer’s Society for information about local Dementia Navigators. Phone: 01932 855582, or email: surrey@alzheimers.org.uk