With memory concerns and successful aging major topics of concern for the aging population, especially as the first baby boomers turn 65 next year, the Wood County Committee on Aging, Inc is answering the call by offering free, confidential memory screenings and educational materials about brain health Nov. 16.
The event is part of National Memory Screening Day (NMSD), an annual initiative that the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) holds each November during National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. Approximately 2,000 sites across the country will be participating.
The Northeast Area Senior Center will provide the memory screenings at 705 North Main St., Walbridge, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and the Wood County Senior Center will provide memory screenings at 305 North Main Street, Bowling Green from 1 until 3 p.m.
These locations will also offer tips for aiding your memory and a featured speaker A. John McSweeny, J.D., Ph.D., ABPP Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Neurology University of Toledo. For more information, call 419.353.5661 or 1.800.367.4935.
"Wood County Committee on Aging strives to keep individuals at home; through events like this we are able to provide resources for those with concerns about their cognitive abilities.” states, Danielle Brogley, Director of Programs.
Qualified healthcare professionals conduct the face-to-face screenings, which consist of a series of questions and tasks to test memory, language skills, thinking ability and other intellectual functions, as a first step towards the detection of memory problems. The results do not represent a diagnosis, but they can indicate whether the individual should follow up with a primary care provider or other qualified healthcare professional.
Some memory problems can be readily treated, such as those caused by vitamin deficiencies or thyroid problems. Other memory problems might result from causes that are not currently reversible, such as Alzheimer’s disease. In general, the earlier the diagnosis, the easier it is to treat one of these conditions.
AFA suggests memory screenings for adults concerned about memory loss or experiencing warning signs of dementia; whose family and friends have noticed changes in them; or who believe they are at risk due to a family history of Alzheimer’s disease or a related illness. Screenings also are appropriate for those who do not have a concern right now, but who want to see how their memory is now and for future comparisons.
AFA has been championing the usage of memory screenings since it introduced NMSD in 2003. Most recently, it successfully advocated for inclusion of “detection of any cognitive impairment” in the annual wellness exam for Medicare beneficiaries in the new healthcare reform law.
“Be proactive about your memory,” said Eric J. Hall, AFA’s president and CEO. “People need to understand that Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging. If you notice memory problems, don’t be afraid to take steps to find out what’s really going on. Available treatments and support services can improve quality of life.”
Warning signs of dementia include forgetting people’s names and events, asking repetitive questions, loss of verbal or written skills and confusion over daily routines.
Currently, as many as 5.1 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, and the incidence is rising in line with the aging population. Advanced age is the greatest known risk factor. The prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease doubles every five years beyond age 65.
The 2010 sponsors of National Memory Screening Day are Forest Laboratories, the silver sponsor, and Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, the remembrance sponsor.
For more information about National Memory Screening Day, visit www.nationalmemoryscreening.org or call 866-AFA-8484.
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, based in New York, is a non-profit organization that unites more than 1,400 member organizations nationwide with the goal of providing optimal care and services to individuals confronting dementia, and to their caregivers and families. Its services include a toll-free hot line, educational materials, a free quarterly magazine for caregivers and professional training. For more information about AFA and its November events, call toll-free 866-AFA-8484 or visit www.alzfdn.org.