Memory problems? Take steps to find out what’s happening

Written by Pattie Slagle, Volunteer & Resource Coordinator Curry County Home Health & Hospice November 10, 2010 05:00 am

With possible memory problems and successful aging being major topics of concern for the first baby boomers, Curry County Home Health & Hospice is answering the call by offering free, confidential memory screenings and educational materials about brain health on Nov. 16.

The event is part of the National Memory Screening Day (NMSD), an annual initiative 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.

Curry County Home Health & Hospice will provide the memory screenings at 306 Wharf St., in Brookings, from 1 to 4 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 16. For more information, call Pattie 541-469-0405. Qualified healthcare professionals will conduct 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 at present, and for future comparisons.

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, based in New York, is a non-profit organization with the goal of providing optimal care and services to individuals confronting dementia, and to their caregivers and families. For more information about AFA, call toll-free: 1-866-AFA-8484, or visit www.alzfdn.org.

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.