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Recently diagnosed with dementia

A dementia diagnosis can be a lot to take in. Give yourself a little time to adjust.

It might help to talk it through with family and friends. It’s important to know that you are not alone – about 900,000 people in the UK have dementia. It’s possible to live well with dementia and there is support available for you and your family.

This page covers the topics you might consider when planning for your treatment, and day to day life.

We have included links to guides from the NHS, our Memory Service, and from the Alzheimer's Society charity. 

Find out more about dementia

You can arrange a chat with someone from our Memory Service. This may include questions about your diagnosis, medication, social or psychological needs.

Visit our Memory Service webpage to find out more about dementia

You can ask your healthcare professional for a second or further opinion about your health condition.

Alzheimer’s Society have information and guides about living well with dementia after your diagnosis.

Read the Living well after your diagnosis guide on the Alzheimer's Society website (opens new browser tab)

Planning for now and your future

People with dementia can put plans in place now that will be helpful in the future. 

Alzheimer’s Society has guides on their website on how to plan ahead. You can download digital copies or order printed versions

Read the guide on Living with dementia – planning ahead (opens new browser tab)


Having a diagnosis of dementia may affect your job. Our guide on employment is part of a series of nine booklets that have been written for people with dementia.

Read the guide on Living with dementia – Employment (opens new browser tab) 


A diagnosis of dementia does not necessarily mean you have to stop driving. However, there are things you must do to keep driving safely and legally. This includes informing the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

Read the guide on Living with dementia – Driving (opens new browser tab) 

Staying healthy with dementia

It's important to remain as fit and healthy as possible.

Read the guide on Staying Healthy with dementia (opens new browser tab)

Read NHS guidance on Looking after your health if you have dementia (opens new browser tab)

Family, Friends, and Carers

Family and friend may provide practical help and ideas to help you adjust to living with dementia.

Visit the Alzheimer's Society website to read the dementia practical guide (opens new browser tab)

If you care for someone, you can have an assessment to see what might help make your life easier. This is called a carer's assessment.

Visit the NHS website to read about Carer's assessments (opens new browser tab) 


Dementia may affect areas of your life, including your relationships. 

Read the guide on Living with dementia – Your relationships (opens new browser tab)

If you have someone that supports you, they can attend our training programme about dementia.

Read more about our Understanding Dementia Course


Most of the medicines available are used to treat Alzheimer's disease as this is the most common form of dementia. They can help to temporarily reduce symptoms.

This could be improvement in thinking, memory, communication or day-to-day activities.

Some people find that their condition remains stable for a period of time, while others may not notice any effects at all.

Medication can be used together with techniques such as healthy eating and drinking, and adjusting your day to day tasks, as part of a whole treatment approach. 

Medication prescribed by us

If you have consent to treatment, our Memory Service will initiate medication and will liaise with your GP for monitoring and ongoing prescribing.

Consent to treatment means a person must give permission before they receive any type of medical treatment, test or examination.

Visit the NHS website to read about Consent to treatment (opens new browser tab)

You will be invited for a follow up appointment by the Memory Service nurse to review your medication and dosage, and discuss any other concerns which you may have. This is usually about three months after starting your medication.


The type of medication you will usually be prescribed is called ‘Cholinesterase Inhibitors’. This can include:

  • Donepezil  (Aricept)
  • Rivastigmine (Exelon)
  • Galantamine (Reminyl) 

Alternatively, Memantine (Ebixa or Axura) may be prescribed.

Visit NHS website to read more about Memantine (opens new browser tab)

The most common side effects of Cholinesterase Inhibitors are nausea (sickness), vomiting, diarrhoea, insomnia, muscle cramp, and tiredness. These effects are often mild and usually only temporary. Not everyone will experience side effects, but if you have any concerns, please contact your Memory Service.

Medication guides

We have information leaflets with details about the different medications, including:

  • How and when to take them
  • Side effects
  • Can I still drive or drink alcohol

Read the Donepezil information leaflet (pdf)

Read the Galantamine information leaflet (pdf)

Read the Memantine information leaflet (pdf)

Read the Rivastigmine information leaflet (pdf) 

Read the Rivastigmine transdermal patches leaflet (pdf)

Other treatments may include:

  • Post-diagnostic counselling, to help if you have received a dementia diagnosis
  • Cognitive stimulation therapy, to help feel you feel engaged and supported in a group environment
  • Support for life story work
  • Appointments with Dementia Advisors who can provide information, and help you plan for the future
  • Educational programmes for your family and carers 

You can find more information about dementia treatments on the NHS and Alzheimer’s Society websites. 

Visit The Alzheimer’s Society website to learn more about treatments (opens new browser tab)

Our Memory service

If you’re concerned that you’re becoming more forgetful, or having difficulty with concentrating and keeping organised, our specialist Memory Service can assess your situation for conditions which might be affecting you.

Visit our Memory Service webpage


You can find out more about dementia research from our Research and Development team, and the Join Dementia Research team.

Visit our Research and Development team page 

Visit the Join dementia research website (opens new browser tab)