As we get older, it’s not unusual to experience minor memory lapses. But how do we know what’s normal and what’s cause for concern? This question causes a lot of worries, especially when we hear about so many people being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America provides a great service to help provide answers to these concerns. Its National Memory Screening Program offers free, confidential memory screenings at sites throughout the country. Will you consider hosting a memory screening at your facility? Here’s what you need to know to get started:
What is the purpose of a memory screening?
- The screening isn’t meant to replace a regular exam by a physician. Nor is it meant to diagnose an illness. However, it is an excellent tool to identify possible memory issues that need follow-up with the primary health care provider.
Who performs the screenings?
- Qualified health professionals such as nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, or pharmacists perform the screenings. Professionals provided by your facility receive specialized training through Alzheimer’s Foundation webinars. In addition, all tools and educational materials are provided free of charge.
What happens during a screening?
- Each participant meets face-to-face with a healthcare professional in a private area. The screening consists of questions and tasks that assess a variety of memory functions. The entire screening only takes about 10 minutes.
Who should attend the memory screening?
- Anyone can attend the screening event and there is no charge. It’s appropriate for people who are concerned about their memory, whether they’ve noticed problems themselves or someone else has expressed concerns.
What happens to the screening results?
- Screenings are completely confidential. The screener reviews the results with each participant and lets them know if concerns are noted. Results are given to the individual, and they are encouraged to share the results with their primary health care provider.