Alzheimer’s Foundation of America Encourages Americans to Take Advantage of Free, Confidential Memory Screenings

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About 2,500 Sites Nationwide to Participate in 10th Annual National Memory Screening Day on November 13

Alzheimer's Foundation of America's National Memory Screening Day

WHAT:         The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) is encouraging anyone with memory concerns and those interested in learning about brain health to take part in its 10th annual National Memory Screening Day (NMSD) on November 13. About 2,500 sites nationwide will be offering free, confidential memory screenings and educational materials about memory problems and successful aging on this day, or another day in November. November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.

NMSD’s 10th anniversary comes at a time as the nation is increasing attention on the escalating incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and the importance of early diagnosis. Memory screenings are administered by healthcare professionals, and participating sites include Alzheimer’s agencies, senior centers, assisted living facilities, doctors’ offices, hospitals, pharmacies, and more nontraditional sites like libraries and houses of worship.

WHEN:    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

WHY:    Misperceptions about Alzheimer’s disease and other memory problems continue to lead many Americans to believe that memory loss, personality changes and other symptoms are a “normal part of aging.” A recent survey by AFA found that two-thirds of caregivers initially mistook behavioral symptoms (i.e. irritability, aggression) as a “normal part of aging.” As a result, these false impressions delayed their loved one’s diagnosis.

As many as 5.1 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, which causes loss of memory and other intellectual functions. With advanced age the greatest risk factor, Alzheimer’s disease is skyrocketing in line with the aging population. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

The nation’s first-ever National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, released by federal officials last May, calls for greater emphasis on early detection of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as more education and better training of healthcare professionals and family caregivers about the disorder.

A survey of 2010 NMSD participants found that 92 percent of those polled had never been given a memory screening by their doctor, and 83 percent who were worried about their memory had not discussed their concerns with a healthcare provider.
General practitioners miss about half of all dementia cases. 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.

To locate a screening site, visit http://www.nationalmemoryscreening.org, or call toll-free 866-232-8484.

***Note to TV Producers***: B-roll footage available upon request. Please contact Joana Casas, jcasas(at)alzfdn(dot)org or 866-232-8484.

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Carol Steinberg
Alzheimer's Foundation of America
866.232.8484
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