The Importance of Alzheimer’s Memory Screening

The Importance of Alzheimer’s Memory Screening

If you or someone you love is concerned, or maybe just curious, about Alzheimer’s disease, a simple memory-screening test may be what you need.

“What we find is that because of a lot of the stigma of Alzheimer’s disease, the denial and the fear of it, people are not talking to their doctors about memory problems they might be having,” said Carol Steinberg, executive vice president of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.

Where Can I Go?

Every year during Alzheimer’s Awareness Month in November, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America sponsors a National Memory Screening Day. The 5-minute test is done at participating sites on National Memory Screening Day.

Community sites around the country set up memory screenings and people can do the simple test at churches, senior centers, libraries, and hospitals.

Who Can Go?

Ms. Steinberg said that anyone could take the test. “There might be a family history of Alzheimer’s disease or they might want to check now for future comparison,” she said. “It’s free, non-invasive and the results do not represent a diagnosis. We encourage a full medical evaluation because it might be something else that is treatable.”

In fact, Ms. Steinberg said that some people have come to a screening and followed up with their doctor and found that their symptoms turned out to be a vitamin deficiency or something else. “Then their fears of Alzheimer’s disease were mitigated,” she said.

The foundation also hears from people who took their screening results to their doctor and were able to get early treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. “We got a note last year that said, Thank goodness for screening day,” she said. Ms. Steinberg added that sometimes just the posters about screening day could spark an overdue conversation among friends and family to seek medical care for memory problems.

The National Memory Screening Day website has a list of questions to ask to determine if you or a loved one is in need of the test. The screening test is also described in detail on the site, and all results are confidential.

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