dementia: what motivates people to seek a diagnosis?

thinkpublic have been working hard (in partnership with the Design Council and Department of Health) to explore this question. Currently only one third of the UKʼs 750,000 dementia sufferers are ever properly diagnosed or have contact with specialist services at any time in their illness meaning the majority of people with dementia miss out on early intervention and specialist care. To date, much of the focus in dementia research has tended to focus on the role of the GP in formally delivering a diagnosis, but people in the person with dementia’s social network also play a key role in supporting them to take steps towards a diagnosis. Throughout our research we spoke to individuals with dementia, people in their social networks and GP’s to discover more about the motivations and barriers for seeking an initial diagnosis for Dementia. Key insights gained from the research include:

  • People don’t know how to talk about dementia
  • People are fearful of other peoples perceptions of dementia
  • People do not know what to do if they think someone might have dementia
  • The person who may have dementia is often scared of losing their independence
  • People don’t know what is normal for ageing and what are symptoms of dementia

thinkpublic have been working in the area of dementia for the last 5 years and we are interested in creating intelligently designed environments, experiences, services and products, which enable dignity and independence and contribute to removing the stigma which many people still experience around dementia. We are keen on having conversations with interesting and interested people around the following questions:

  • “How can we design ways in which people can keep their dignity when they have dementia?”
  • “How can we develop ways in which people with dementia can remain independent, or find new ways they can feel independent?”
  • “How can we create ways in which the stigma around dementia is challenged and reduced?”


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