supporting people with dementia

What should I do if I’m worried about my memory?

Changes in memory and thinking have a number of possible causes besides dementia. These include stress, depression, pain, chronic illness, medication, alcohol, brain tumour and stroke. Major changes in memory are not normal at any age and should be taken seriously. If you’re experiencing these kinds of difficulties, it is better to see your doctor sooner rather than later. Early assessment allows early diagnosis and treatment, planning by family members and consideration of legal and financial issues.

There is no single specific test to identify dementia. A medical diagnosis is made by cognitive testing; talking to relatives or friends to assess the history of changes in memory, thinking and behaviour; as well as a physical examination, blood tests and scans.

I think my loved one has dementia. How do I convince them to see a doctor?

Some people may be resistant to the idea of visiting a doctor for assessment of their memory. They may not realise, or else deny, that anything is wrong - possibly due to the brain changes that interfere with their ability to recognise or appreciate that issues are occurring. Others, who have retained insight, may be afraid of having their fears confirmed. 

One of the most effective ways to overcome this problem is to identify another reason for a visit to the doctor, for a symptom that the person is experiencing, such as headaches or poor eyesight. Any anxiety expressed by the person is an opportunity to suggest and support them in a visit to their doctor. 

What support services are available? 

Alzheimer’s Australia provides a range of sensitive and flexible services to support people with any type of dementia throughout the illness, as well as their families and carers.

Services provided by Alzheimer’s Australia include:

  • Information about dementia
  • Support and education groups for people who have been diagnosed with dementia as well as for carers and families 
  • Important information about local services 

Alzheimer's Australia

Information about support services are available at: or by calling the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.