What is dementia?

Dementia is not a single illness but a group of symptoms caused by damage to the structure of the brain. Symptoms include memory loss, and problems with communication and reasoning.

Dementia is associated with an ongoing decline of the brain and its abilities. The damage to the brain can be due to poor blood flow or strokes (vascular dementia) or because of damage to the internal structure of the nerve cells (Alzheimer’s disease).

Types of dementia

The most common types of dementia are Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies.

Signs and symptoms

Whilst forgetting things is a normal part of ageing you should go to your GP, especially if you notice some of the following:

  • memory loss, especially problems with recalling recent events, such as forgetting messages, remembering routes or names, and asking questions repetitively
  • increasing difficulties with tasks and activities that require organisation and planning
  • becoming confused in unfamiliar environments
  • difficulty finding the right words
  • difficulty with numbers and/or handling money in shops
  • changes in personality and mood
  • depression

Mental Health Services for Older People – North Tyneside

We provide specialist treatment for people living with dementia in North Tyneside usually in their own homes and also in our hospitals, our memory clinic and in care homes.

In Northumberland, specialist treatment and support is available from Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust visit the linkfor more info.

Community Mental Health Teams

There are two Community Mental Health teams for people living in their own homes, one covering Whitley Bay and Tynemouth, the other North Shields and Wallsend.  There is also a dedicated team, the Nursing Home Team, for people living in care homes.

Referral is usually from your GP.  The team will contact you to arrange to see you, usually in your own home.  The person who comes to see you might be a community psychiatric nurse, a social worker, an occupational therapist or a psychiatrist.  They will agree a plan with you including any necessary treatment.

Memory Clinic

Our memory clinic is part of our outpatient service at Priory Day Hospital.  We will provide you with assessments and treatment of memory problems associated with dementia.  We also offer support for families of people living with dementia.  Please note you need to be referred by your GP to access the service.

Liaison Service

If you are a patient in a medical or surgical ward at North Tyneside General Hospital for a physical health problem, but also have mental health needs, you can be assessed by our liaison team.  You may be seen by a nurse, or a psychiatrist who will look at your current mental health needs.

Mental health inpatient wards

For some patients, staying in hospital on a mental health ward for treatment will be the best option and our purpose-built unit at North Tyneside General Hospital provides a bright and welcoming area.  This specially designed facility has three separate wards, two of which are to care for patients living with dementia.

The Early Onset Dementia Service

If you are under 65 years old and have concerns about your memory or have a diagnosis of dementia, you may be seen by our early onset dementia team  This consists of a community psychiatric nurse and a support worker with input from a consultant psychiatrist and a psychologist.  Once you have been referred by our GP, the team will work with you to develop a plan of care and treatment.

 

Membery Clinic Online Consultation

  Where appropriate you may be asked to attend a consultation online via a video call.

Rather than travelling to your appointment, you go into the clinic’s online ‘waiting area’. We will be notified when you arrive and your clinician will join you when ready

You don’t need to set up an account and no information you enter is stored.

If you have been given an online appointment please click on the following link to start the consultation at your appointment time – online consultation

Mental Health for Older People Psychology

 Where appropriate you may be asked to attend a consultation online via a video call.

Rather than travelling to your appointment, you go into the clinic’s online ‘waiting area’. We will be notified when you arrive and your clinician will join you when ready

You don’t need to set up an account and no information you enter is stored.

If you have been given an online appointment please click on the following link to start the consultation at your appointment time – online consultation


For more information about dementia and caring for someone living with dementia see below:

Alzeihmer’s Society - Alzeihmer’s Society provides information about the condition, support for people living with dementia and their families including online forums, helpline, research and resources.

Age UK - Age UK provides information and advice along with social and leisure activities in the North East

Dementia Friends - Dementia Friends is about giving more people an understanding of dementia and the small things that could make a difference to people living in their community. Find out more and sign up by visiting the Dementia Friends website.

 

Support for families

North Tyneside Carer’s Centre and Carers Northumberland offer information and support to people who look after someone living with an illness or disability including dementia.