Remember, get your memory checked

November 14, 2012 • Local News

Visitors to the National Memory Screening Day event sponsored by Comfort Keepers check out the displays at the Roswell Adult and Senior Center, Tuesday. Mark Wilson Photo

In honor of National Memory Screening Day, a nationwide event held by the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, Comfort Keepers held the eighth annual memory screening in Roswell, Tuesday.

The event [auth] was held at the Roswell Adult and Senior Center, and featured complementary memory screenings with material provided by the foundation, as well as goodies and information from about 18 different vendors. The vendors included home health agencies, assisted living facilities and medical suppliers as well. Paula Wilks, LPN and operations manager for Comfort Keepers, said there was a good turnout for the free flu shots that were offered on the day as well. She estimated about 104 people attended last year’s event and this year, the event attracted about the same amoun. She added that there will be a similar event held in Carlsbad this Friday.

Participants in the memory screening merely had to fill out paperwork on their medical history for screeners and the test itself took between five and 10 minutes. Short-term memory loss was what screeners were observing that day because that’s the first component to deteriorate in those who have dementia and Alzheimer’s. Wilks stressed that the test done at the event were not to be taken as a diagnosis, but as an indicator of whether or not they need to speak to a physician.

“The results of the assessment are preliminary and educational in nature,” she said. “[They are] intended to provide the participant with information to facilitate a meaningful discussion with their physicians.”

Priscilla Lujan Southeastern Regional manager for the Alzheimer’s Association, said these preliminary tests can make all the difference.

“Early detection is really important, because there are several dementias that are actually reversible,” she said. “Also there are a few medications that, if you are suffering from Alzheimer’s, they’ll slow the process down and add years to your memory.”

She noted that many individuals ignore the signs thinking there is nothing they can do when that is not the case.

“If you’re suffering memory loss and you’re thinking, ‘Oh, I don’t want to deal with it because I can’t do anything about it because it’s Alzheimer’s and there’s nothing I can do,’ well that’s not true,” she said. “Go talk to your physician, bring up those issues and he’ll do some blood work on you and see if there’s other areas that need to be looked at.”

Individuals with low B12 levels, thyroid problems and even infections should consult with their doctor, as those ailments can spur certain types of dementia in the elderly.

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