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National Memory Screening Day Offers Insights And Information on Alzheimer’s

November 17, 2009
As research continues to mount about the effectiveness of memory screenings and the benefits of early detection of memory problems, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) will hold its 7th annual National Memory Screening Day today, November 17. More than 2,100 sites across the country will offer free, confidential memory screenings and educational materials about memory concerns, successful aging and local resources.   AFA believes memory screenings are appropriate for individuals concerned about memory loss or experiencing warning signs of dementia; whose family and friends have noticed changes in them; who believe they are at risk due to a family history of Alzheimer's disease or a related illness; or who want to see how their memory is now and for future comparisons. While there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias, early identification has its benefits, including major benefits to caregivers: available treatments can help slow progression of symptoms; education and behavioral interventions can help with disease management; long-term planning and social services support for individuals with the disease and their families can ease daily challenges; and counseling and other support can even delay placing a loved one in a nursing home. “We must break through the enormous stigma and denial about memory problems that still exist today,” said Eric J. Hall, AFA president and chief executive officer. “It’s a message that the nation as a whole and aging baby boomers especially need to heed.” The face-to-face screening, conducted by a qualified healthcare professional, takes about five minutes to administer and consists of a series of questions and/or tasks. Screeners emphasize that the test results do not represent a diagnosis and encourage individuals with below-normal scores as well as those who still have concerns to pursue a full medical exam. Sites include doctor’s offices, senior centers and assisted living facilities, as well as 1,030 Kmart Pharmacy locations nationwide as part of the chain’s GoldK Day. To locate a screening site, visit http://www.nationalmemoryscreening.org or call 866-AFA-8484.