Alzheimer's Foundation of America
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | January 7, 2009

State Officials to Host Memory Screening Day on January 13
Free Screenings, Alzheimer’s Quilt Display Open to Public

ALBANY, NY – In an effort to raise awareness of memory issues and healthy aging, the chairman of the New York State Assembly Committee on Aging in collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) will sponsor Memory Screening Day on January 13 at the State Legislative Office Building in Albany.

The event is free and open to the public, and will include confidential memory screenings, educational information and a display of a portion of the AFA Quilt to Remember, the nation’s first grand-scale quilt that pays tribute to those affected by Alzheimer’s disease. It will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Well on the first floor of State Legislative Office Building, located across the street from the State Capitol, in Albany.

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, Chair of the Committee on Aging said that “Memory screening events are consistent with the idea of preventative care and aging in place. The earlier that we are able to identify the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, the easier it will be to assist patients and their families in planning for and treating Alzheimer’s disease.”

Joining in this effort are Assemblymen Ron Canestrari, Tim Gordon, Jack McEneny and Bob Reilly, all of whom represent the Capital District, as well as the other members of the Aging Committee.

Eric J. Hall, AFA’s president and CEO, said awareness-raising events like this are critical as the nation’s population ages and the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease escalates. Age is the greatest risk factor for the brain disorder, which affects an estimated five million Americans.

“It’s important to get Alzheimer’s disease in front of the public. Knowledge is empowerment, especially when you’re facing such a heartbreaking disease,” said Eric J. Hall, AFA’s president and CEO. “We need to drive home the value of early detection and the myriad support services that can make a difference for families.”

During the event, AFA will provide memory screenings to individuals who want to check their memory or have concerns. Administered by a qualified healthcare professional, the screening takes about five to 10 minutes and consists of a series of questions and tasks designed to test memory and other intellectual functions. Memory screenings are not a diagnosis, but can indicate whether a person should follow up with a healthcare provider.

Last month, AFA released a new report, “Memory Matters,” that emphasizes the safety and cost-effectiveness of memory screening tools and calls on Congress to develop a national dementia screening policy.

AFA will also distribute educational materials about memory issues, successful aging and caregiving. Project Lifesaver International, which has a strategic partnership with AFA, will offer information about its technology that successfully tracks individuals who wander.

In addition, AFA will display a portion of its AFA Quilt to Remember, a heartfelt arts initiative that includes more than 110 emotional and powerful quilt panels crafted by individuals and organizations from across the nation, including New York.

Among them, Lynda Dziuba, a quilter who lives in Auburn, NY, created a “story quilt” about her mother, who passed away in 2007. “It is a tribute to her life and to the lives of so many who have lost the battle to this debilitating disease,” she said.

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America is a New York-based national nonprofit organization focused on providing optimal care to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related illnesses, and their families, and is made up of more than 950 member organizations nationwide. Its services include a toll-free hot line, counseling by licensed social workers, a free caregiver magazine and professional training. For more information, call 866-AFA-8484 or visit www.alzfdn.org.

Contact: Carol Steinberg
Phone: 866-AFA-8484