Alzheimer's Novel Author Marianne Sciucco Recommends Getting a Memory Check in November During National Memory Screening Month

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Memory screenings can help identify potential Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Marianne Sciucco, nurse author of Blue Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer's love story, urges readers to take a memory screening this month, National Memory Screening Month.

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These tests should never be a substitute for a professional medical evaluation if one suspects cognitive impairment or decline. - Marianne Sciucco, nurse and author

November is National Memory Screening Month. Marianne Sciucco, author of the popular Alzheimer's novel Blue Hydrangeas, recommends taking advantage of opportunities in your community to do this important screening for yourself and your loved ones.

"Healthcare providers recommend routine screenings for a variety of conditions: hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, and cancers such as skin, colorectal, breast and prostate," says Sciucco, a registered nurse.

"A memory check is another exam you should do yearly, to make sure your cognitive function is intact. November, National Memory Screening Month, is a great time to not only perform this check for yourself but for your loved ones, especially your elders, who may be experiencing cognitive decline."

Memory screenings are for those concerned about memory loss or those experiencing warning signs of cognitive decline, whether or not there is a family history of dementia or Alzheimer's.

"If friends or family are making comments about your mental acuity, a screening may be beneficial," Sciucco says, "whether you take one at your physician's office, your local senior center, or at home. If you’re asking yourself any of the following questions, it’s time for a 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 repeating myself?
  • 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?

Early diagnosis is crucial in the treatment of memory impairment. "Many conditions are reversible," says Sciucco. "But without proper medical care, situations can escalate and lead to serious decline or other conditions that may adversely impact one's health."

Your healthcare provider (physician, nurse practitioner, physician's assistant) can administer a screening test, and many community organizations do so through the Alzheimer's Foundation of America. Self-administered at-home tests are another option. These tests take only minutes and may help determine if further investigation is needed. But, Sciucco says,"These tests should never be a substitute for a professional medical evaluation if one suspects cognitive impairment or decline. Proper medical evaluation of potential memory issues includes a consultation with a physician, a complete physical exam, a thorough review of health history, and diagnostic tests."

The author adds, "At the very least, simple at-home screening tests can open up dialogue, and introduce important discussions about what can happen if dementia or Alzheimer's strikes, and how individuals prefer to be treated if it does."

Schedule a memory screening test with your healthcare provider this month, or visit Community Memory Screening and Awareness-Raising Education: The Road to Early Detection and Care (AFA C.A.R.E.S.) to find a local screening center in your community.

Some popular memory tests are:
The Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam (SAGE), a 10-15 minute, 4-page, paper and pen test offered by The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

The Mini-Cog Test for Alzheimer's and Dementia, a simple three minute test that is useful in detecting mild cognitive impairment, dementia, or an early stage of Alzheimer's.

Additional Resources:
The Alzheimer's Association

Blue Hydrangeas is the sad but beautiful story of a retired pair of Cape Cod innkeepers struggling with the wife's Alzheimer's. Amazon readers give it an average of 4.7 stars, and it's hit number one on that bookseller's medical fiction list four times. It's also IndieReader Approved, winner of Indie Recon's Best Indie Novel Award 2014, a Readers' Favorite, and a BookWorks "Book of the Week." It's available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook on Amazon, Audible, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iBooks, Vook, the Create Space eStore, and other online retailers.

About the Author

Marianne Sciucco is not a nurse who writes but a writer who happens to be a nurse. A lover of words and books, she dreamed of becoming an author when she grew up but became a nurse to avoid poverty. She later brought her two passions together and writes family dramas with real medical issues, clean fiction without overt sexuality, violence, or objectionable language. Follow Marianne's Adventures in Publishing and keep up with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

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