A SOUTHPORT dad has urged others who show early signs of dementia to get diagnosed as soon as possible after he put off going to the doctor because “I didn’t want to know.”
Philip Burdekin, 63, worked as a lorry driver when he found himself starting to miss turnings and getting lost.
He started to shy away from social situations and was struggling to maintain a conversation before he eventually decided to get checked out.
He was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia in 2014 and he is now warning others to see a doctor if they think they may have the illness.
Philip, who has four children and is now being cared for his ex-wife, said: “Although receiving the diagnosis was really difficult at first, having the diagnosis did bring relief as I then understood what was wrong with me.
“I feel I put off going to get a diagnosis for so many years as I didn’t want to know but I wish I had gone earlier as I started to get depressed and it was affecting my life more not knowing what it was.
“After getting the diagnosis life carries on and with time you become more accepting of it. I joined a support group in Southport where I met other people in the same situation as me and I made new friends.
“This brought a lot more positivity and the fears of having a dementia diagnosis started disappearing as it made me feel I wasn’t alone. Getting a diagnosis has changed my life, for the better in some ways.”
A new Alzheimer’s Society survey of more than 1,000 people with diagnosed dementia, carers and people without a diagnosis, found 27% in the North West lived with the condition for more than two years after first noticing their symptoms, before getting a diagnosis.
The figures, released this week to mark the start of Dementia Action Week (16-22 May), also showed a further 35% in the area waited between one and two years.
One of the main reasons for delay, according to 48% of respondents in the North West and compared with 42% nationally, was that they assumed the symptoms were just part of getting old, leading to a delay in accessing treatment, care and support.
Support and more information about a diagnosis is just a phone call or a click away. Visit alzheimers.org.uk/memoryloss or call 0333 150 3456.