FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | November 3, 2010
Alzheimer’s Foundation of America to Introduce Free Memory Screenings in Spanish
Higher Risk for Latinos Emphasizes Importance of National Memory Screening Day Event
NEW YORK, NEW YORK— The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) in collaboration with the Latino Alzheimer’s and Memory Disorders Alliance, Mexican Consulate and major hospitals will offer free, confidential memory screenings in Spanish in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York on various dates in November.
The events are part of AFA’s National Memory Screening Day, which it holds during National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month each November as part of its overall strategy to promote early detection of memory problems and appropriate intervention. Its 8th National Memory Screening Day is November 16, although some sites offer the screenings on other days.
This year, in addition to sites offering screenings in English, AFA hopes to reach the underserved Hispanic/Latino population by providing screenings and educational materials that are in Spanish and culturally-sensitive, and by holding the event at familiar settings and in partnership with local organizations that serve this community.
The Spanish initiative comes in response to an increasing incidence of Alzheimer’s disease among Hispanics/Latinos due to greater risk factors and the projected growth of those aged 65 and older from 2.7 million in 2008 to more than 17 million by 2050. Advanced age is the greatest known risk factor for the brain disorder, which causes loss of memory and other intellectual function and is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
In Los Angeles, the Mexican Consulate will hold screenings in partnership with UCLA Easton Center on November 6 from 8 a.m. to noon at the consulate. In Chicago, the Alivio Medical Center will administer screenings on November 17 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. at its facility; the Mexican Consulate, November 18 and 19 from 9 a.m. to noon at the consulate; the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center, November 19 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Villa Guadalupe Senior Services; and Sinai Health System, November 20 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Sinai Community Institute. In New York, the Mexican Consulate, with participation from NYU School of Medicine and Bellevue Hospital, will provide screenings on November 16 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the consulate. For more details, visit www.nationalmemoryscreening.org.
Qualified healthcare professionals will conduct the face-to-face screenings, which consist of questions and tasks to test memory, language skills and other intellectual functions, and takes about five minutes to administer. The results do not represent a diagnosis, and screeners encourage individuals with below-normal scores as well as those who still have concerns to pursue a full medical exam.
Participants will receive educational materials about memory issues, successful aging and caregiving, and referrals to community resources and AFA’s bilingual social workers for follow up.
“AFA and its partnering organizations all share a passion to help the Hispanic/Latino population better understand memory problems and to encourage them to be proactive about any concerns. It’s time for all of us to talk openly about this issue,” said Eric J. Hall, AFA’s president and CEO.
Actor Hector Elizondo, AFA’s honorary celebrity chairman, is also encouraging people to get screened.
“Memory screenings can point you in the right direction. Take the results and start talking with your healthcare professional—sooner rather than later,” said Elizondo, whose mother had Alzheimer’s disease.
AFA surveys support the need for education about Alzheimer’s disease, especially among minority populations. One survey found that 67 percent of Hispanic caregivers dismissed symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease as “old age,” which contributed to a delay in diagnosis.
Memory problems could be caused by Alzheimer's disease or other medical conditions. Some memory problems can be readily treated, such as those caused by vitamin deficiencies or thyroid problems. Other member problems might result from causes that are not currently reversible, such as Alzheimer's disease.
Forest Laboratories is the silver sponsor and Novartis is the remembrance sponsor of this year’s National Memory Screening Day.
Alzheimer’s Foundation of America
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, based in New York, is a non-profit organization that unites more than 1,400 member organizations nationwide with the goal of providing optimal care and services to individuals confronting dementia, and to their caregivers and families. Its services include a toll-free helpline, educational materials, a free quarterly magazine for caregivers and professional training. For more information about AFA, call toll-free 866-AFA-8484 or visit www.alzfdn.org.
Contact: Carol Steinberg