The UK-based Alzheimer’s Society published this month a research report entitled Dementia: Out of the Shadows. This project explored experiences of people with dementia and their carers [usually members of the family] of finding out they had dementia, the assessment and diagnostic process and how they, together with their families and friends, have adjusted and coped since being diagnosed.

The research was conducted for the Society by the Mental Health Foundation and covered four main areas. First, it investigated the different dementias that participants had and the length of time they had had them. Secondly, it looked at people’s experience of finding out that something was not right and the experience of going to see their doctor. Thirdly, the research looked into people’s lives after receiving the dementia diagnosis and the ways in which their lives had changed. Finally, the research asked people’s views on the key ingredients for a ‘good’ diagnosis process and experience, and the issue of stigma.

They also made five major recommendations, focusing on greater understanding of dementia, better diagnostic services and provision of timely and accessible information. In addition the importance of developing strong peer support networks was recommended.