Many people in the region are mistaking absent mindedness for dementia, according to the Alzheimer's Society. It says calls to its helpline rose by 60% during last year's festive season.
The charity's calling for greater understanding about the signs of the disease.
Dementia affects everyone in different ways, but people should seek medical advice if they notice that they:
struggle to remember recent events, although they can easily recall things that happened in the past
find it hard to follow conversations or programmes on TV
forget the names of friends or everyday objects
cannot recall things they have heard, seen or read
repeat themselves or lose the thread of what they are saying
have problems thinking and reasoning
feel anxious, depressed or angry about their forgetfulness
find that other people start to comment on their forgetfulness
feel confused even when in a familiar environment.
You can find out more on the Alzheimer's Society website. The charity also runs the National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 11 22