National Memory Screening Program

Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA)

National Memory Screening Program is an annual initiative of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) to emphasize the importance of proper detection and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, as well as to provide information about successful aging and resources. Sites from coast-to-coast will be offering screenings during National Memory Screening Week.

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America initiated the National Memory Screening Program as part of its mission to provide “optimal care and services to individuals confronting dementia, and to their caregivers and families” … and as part of its focus on “Caring for the Nation.” National Memory Screening Program is one of the highlights of AFA’s ongoing national effort to promote early detection of memory problems, including Alzheimer’s disease, and to encourage appropriate intervention, including medical treatments, social services and other resources.

AFA believes that memory screenings are a significant first-step toward early diagnosis. AFA carries out this event in collaboration with organizations and healthcare professionals across the U.S.—bringing them together for care. Participating sites offer free, confidential memory screenings, as well as follow-up resources and educational materials to those concerned about memory loss. As the demand for our services continues to grow, AFA launched the National Memory Screening Program in 2015.

The National Memory Screening Program (NMSP) includes National Memory Screening Week (formerly National Memory Screening Day, introduced in 2003) and AFA’s Community Memory Screening and Awareness-Raising Education: The Road to Early Detection and Care (AFA C.A.R.E.S.) program. What is a Memory Screening? Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s (AFA’s) National Memory Screening Day provides free, confidential memory screenings to individuals concerned about memory problems or who want to check their memory now and for future comparisons.

The Face to Face memory screening takes from 5 to 10 minutes and consists of questions and/or tasks designed to test memory, language skills and other intellectual functions. A memory screening is not used to diagnose any particular illness and does not replace consultation with a qualified healthcare professional. However, it is an important first step toward finding out the cause of memory problems. Individuals with a below-normal score or those with normal scores but who still have concerns should follow up with a 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. Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease enables individuals to obtain medical treatment and social services and make legal and financial decisions that can improve quality of life. Attendees will receive information about memory screenings, Alzheimer’s disease, and other resources. These questions might help you decide if you should be screened.

If you answer “yes” to any of them, you might benefit from a memory screening. Am I becoming more forgetful? Do I have trouble concentrating? Do I have difficulty performing familiar tasks? Do I have trouble recalling words or names in conversation? Do I sometimes forget where I am or where I am going? Have family or friends told me that I am repeating questions or saying the same thing over and over again? Am I misplacing things more often? Have I become lost when walking or driving? Have my family or friends noticed changes in my mood, behavior, personality, or desire to do things? A memory screening is not used to diagnose any particular illness and does not replace consultation with a qualified physician or other healthcare professional.

What are the Warning Signs of Dementia? Trouble finding words Trouble with new memories Misplacing familiar objects Relying on memory helpers Confusion about time, place or people Struggling to complete familiar actions Seeing or hearing things Expressing false beliefs Loss of interest in important responsibilities Personality changes Making bad decisions Onset of new depression or irritability.

Adrian Garza with Nestor H. Praderio, M.D.

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