Families coming together over the holidays are urged to act if concerned about a loved one

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The Christmas and New Year period is an opportunity to spend time with loved ones but it can also be a time where people may notice changes in an older relative such as memory loss, confusion about time and place, difficulties performing familiar tasks,  problems with language, misplacing things or changes in personality.

Alzheimer’s Australia NSW CEO The Hon. John Watkins AM said that often, the changes associated with dementia are subtle and gradual, and can be difficult to detect by those in constant contact with their loved one.

“But if a long time has passed between visits, these changes can be much more obvious,” Mr Watkins said.

Alzheimer’s Australia NSW is urging anybody with concerns over changes in the thinking and behaviour of a loved one to contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 for advice.

“The festive season is a time when families come together and celebrate. Quite often factors such as distance and our busy lives mean the holidays present rare opportunities to get together,” Mr Watkins said.

“Although these symptoms might not necessarily be a consequence of dementia, it is important to discuss your concerns with an expert as soon as possible.”

Alzheimer’s Australia National Dementia Helpline experts will listen to you and discuss your concerns with compassion and empathy. When it comes to dementia, there really is no question too small. Call for information, support, advice and referrals to other support services.

The Alzheimer’s Australia website at fightdementia.org.au offers a wealth of dementia-related information. However, nothing can beat the reassurance that comes with speaking to a real person.

Remember, there are other, curable conditions that can cause symptoms similar to dementia, so it’s vital to get to the bottom of whatever has caused any changes.

If it turns out that your loved one does have dementia, your first call to the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 can be the start of an enduring relationship with Alzheimer’ Australia NSW that will provide support throughout the different stages of the disease and help make sure all measures are in place to enable your loved one to continue to live well now, and in the future.