It is estimated that around 90,000 people in Scotland are currently living with dementia and it is Scotland’s biggest public health issue.

Dementia doesn’t just affect older people. It is estimated that approximately 3,500 people in Scotland under the age of 65 have some form of dementia. This is known as young onset dementia. The chance of developing dementia increases with age. One in 14 people over 65 – and one in six people over 80 – has dementia. Dementia is more common among women than men.

The Herald has partnered with Alzheimer Scotland to launch a campaign aimed at ending the disparity in care costs between those footing the bill for specialist dementia nursing care and those suffering from other terminal illnesses.

READ MORE: Starting a conversation about dementia

Susan Rendell from Alzheimer Scotland, who is an experienced younger onset dementia link worker, provides answers to some frequently asked questions.

I think my partner might be showing early signs of dementia, what should I do?

Encourage your partner to speak to their GP – and offer to support them by making a joint GP appointment. Explain that the GP will be able to rule out other conditions that could cause the symptoms as well as completing a thorough assessment.

How can I start to have a conversation about dementia with my partner/family member?

Try to find a time when you’re both comfortable, consider if you are the best person to have that discussion. The conversation should be as informal as possible, avoiding any confrontation.

I have been given a dementia diagnosis from my GP, what are my next steps?

You can contact Alzheimer Scotland who provide a range of supports including their 24-hour hour Freephone Dementia Helpline on 0808 808 3000 for further support and information.

Question 4: Can dementia be treated medically. What are my options?

Although there are medications available that can help ease some of the symptoms of dementia, they are not suitable for everyone.  Speak to your GP about your options.

Can I continue to work?

Getting a diagnosis of dementia while still of working age can be difficult. Depending on your diagnosis and the type of work that you do, it may still be possible to continue working for a period of time. There should be guidelines within your workplace to support you with this.

How do I access support?

The Scottish Government has guaranteed a year’s Post Diagnostic Support for everyone diagnosed with dementia. Ask your GP about this or call the Alzheimer Scotland 24-hour Freephone on 0808 808 3000 for further support and information.

What is post diagnostic support?

There are five key aspects of post diagnostic support (PDS) which will help you to:

Understand the illness and manage your symptoms

Be supported to keep up your community connections and make new ones

Have the chance to meet other people with dementia and their partners and families

Plan for future decision-making

Plan for your future support

You can contact Alzheimer Scotland to find information on local support groups in your area at

Alzheimer Scotland provides a 24 hour Freephone Dementia Helpline (0808 808 3000) which is free to call and available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

READ MORE: What is Dementia and how do I access support?

Ask the person how they want to move forward and look to arrange an appointment at a GP practice. You can request a joint appointment at a GP practice, with the person’s consent and can also ask for a longer appointment so you have time to an in-dept conversation.

More information

Read Alzheimer Scotland’s ‘Let’s talk about dementia: starting your own conversation’ information leaflet here.

Other information resources can be found online at

NHS Health Scotland’s ‘Worried about your Memory’ can be found here.

Visit Alzheimer Scotland’s Younger people with dementia information page online here.