FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | October 16, 2013
NOVEMBER 19 IS NATIONAL MEMORY SCREENING DAY
Local Sites to Offer Free, Confidential Memory Screenings Nationwide
NEW YORK (October 16, 2013) — In the forefront of a growing national movement that shines the spotlight on early detection of memory problems, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) will host its 11 th annual National Memory Screening Day on November 19.
Each November—National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month—AFA teams up with healthcare professionals across the country to offer free, confidential memory screenings, and educational materials about memory problems and brain health. Nearly 2,500 local sites will be participating, including doctors’ offices, hospitals, long-term care facilities, senior centers, libraries and pharmacies. The face-to-face memory screenings consist of a series of questions and tasks, and take five to 10 minutes.
The importance of early detection is gaining ground as the number of baby boomers reaching 65—the at-risk age for Alzheimer’s disease—climbs. Federal government leaders call for greater education about Alzheimer’s disease and early detection in the nation’s first “National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease,” which was released in May 2012 and recently updated.
“Just like people are concerned about the health of their bodies, they should also be concerned about the health of their brains. Likewise, just like doctors regularly test for conditions like heart disease, cancer and diabetes, so should they monitor a person’s memory,” said Carol Steinberg, AFA’s president.
Yet according to an AFA survey of National Memory Screening Day participants, 83 percent of participants who were worried about their memory had not discussed their concerns with a healthcare professional, and 92 percent had never been given a screening by their primary healthcare provider.
“There is a lot to be said about being proactive when it comes to your memory,” Steinberg said.
While the screening results are not a diagnosis, they can signal whether someone should follow up with a primary care physician or other healthcare professional for a more thorough medical evaluation.
AFA suggests memory screenings for anyone 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 dementia; or who want to see how their memory is now and for future comparison.
Some causes of memory problems are reversible, such as depression and vitamin deficiency. While Alzheimer’s disease is irreversible, early detection of the brain disorder enables diagnosed individuals to be treated with available medications that can help slow progression of symptoms, take advantage of support services, and have a voice in long-term care and financial planning discussions.
This year, nearly 40 professional associations and trade groups are supporting the event. Silver sponsors are Accera, Inc., and Forest Laboratories; and the remembrance sponsor is Novartis Pharmaceuticals.
For more information about National Memory Screening Day, including signing up as a screening site and locating a site, call (toll free) 866-232-8484 or visit www.nationalmemoryscreening.org.
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About Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA)
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, based in New York, is a national non-profit organization that unites more than 1,600 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 hot line, educational materials, a free quarterly magazine for caregivers, and professional training. For more information about AFA, call toll-free 866-232-8484, visit www.alzfdn.org , follow us on Twitter (@alzfdn), and “like” us on Facebook (facebook.com/AlzheimersFoundationofAmerica).
Contact: Amanda Hirschhorn