Get Screened for Alzheimer's November 15th
Underscoring the need for greater attention to Alzheimer’s disease are studies that show general practitioners miss about half of dementia cases. Advanced age is the greatest known risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, which currently affects 5.1 million Americans; the incidence is increasing dramatically in line with aging baby boomers.
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) encourages Americans to take control of their memory health by visiting and utilizing free memory screenings on November 15th. About 2,500 sites will provide confidential memory screenings and distribute information about memory problems, successful aging, and other necessary resources.
Testing sites include Alzheimer’s agencies, senior centers, libraries, long-term care residences, home care agencies, hospitals, doctors’ offices and pharmacies, including the entire chain of Kmart pharmacies nationwide.
Dave Sheehan of Haynesville, LA knows what it’s like not to know what’s causing memory problems—and then to know what a diagnosis feels like. Last week, he retired from serving as a pastor for the United Methodist Church for the state of Louisiana due to his symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. He had been forgetting meetings and had gotten lost on his way to do prison ministry before he was finally diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease last October by physicians at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Shreveport, LA.
“Of course it was stunning to hear the diagnosis, but I was relieved because I knew something was terribly wrong,” said Sheehan, 64, who served in the United States Navy during the Vietnam War.
The formal diagnosis prompted him to learn more about the disease, as well as make plans for the future, including relocating soon with his wife to her parents’ home in Alabama.
During AFA’s National Memory Screening Day, qualified healthcare professionals administer the face-to-face screenings, which take five to ten minutes and consist of a series of questions and tasks. The results do not represent a diagnosis, and screeners encourage participants with abnormal scores as well as those who still have concerns to pursue a full medical exam.