Nov 5
Memories

What to Know About Memory Screening Week

As you and your Seattle area senior loved ones grow older, you might find yourselves becoming a little forgetful. In our fast-paced society, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and forget a few things. Some memory loss is a normal part of the aging process. There are, however, certain behaviors that may be early warning signs of something more serious.
If your spouse or an older adult you care for is frequently misplacing things, repeating themselves in a conversation or having difficulty recalling names, it can be a red flag that something is wrong.

Does my spouse or an aging parent have Alzheimer’s disease?

One way to begin to explore this issue is by taking part in National Memory Screening Week. During the first week of November, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) works in conjunction with health care organizations and senior living providers across the country to sponsor free, confidential memory screenings.

What happens during a memory screening?

During a memory screening appointment, a qualified health professional will spend about 10 minutes with you or your older loved one. The screening professional will utilize one of several accepted memory assessment tools to ask a series of questions and assign minor tasks. The objective is to evaluate memory, language skills and critical thinking skills.

These private, one-on-one screenings are completely confidential. Only the participant and the professional administering the test will be in the room.

After the exam is completed, the screening professional will share their findings. It might be they don’t detect any memory problems or concerns or it could be they recommend your senior loved one see a primary care physician for follow-up. The examiner will also provide a written report that explains the results of the testing.

It is important to understand that these screenings do not diagnose dementia or Alzheimer’s. They simply determine whether or not further testing is necessary.

What are the benefits of a memory screening?

Taking time out for a memory screening can offer peace of mind. If you’ve been worried about your memory or an older loved one’s memory, finding out it is just the normal signs of aging can be a welcome relief.  And while no one wants to learn that they or an aging loved one may have a memory disorder, a screening that recommends you seek further testing is important.

The Alzheimer’s Association says early Alzheimer’s detection and intervention can lead to better treatment. It may allow a senior to live independently longer. Early detection also gives you the option of exploring clinical trials and trying out FDA-approved drugs.

Finally, an early diagnosis gives the older adult time to plan and share their wishes with loved ones. That allows them to feel like they are in control of their health care and their future even when they may no longer be able to speak for themselves.

To find a screening site near your Seattle home, visit the AFA’s National Memory Screening Program website.