Memory Screenings Edge into Mainstream on National Memory Screening Day

   Memory Screenings Edge into Mainstream on National Memory Screening Day

Alzheimer's Foundation of America's Annual Event Includes Traditional and
Nontraditional Sites

PR Newswire

NEW YORK, Nov. 12, 2012

NEW YORK, Nov. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --On November 13, the
Waterville Library in Waterville, OH, the Waretown United Methodist Church, in
Waretown, NJ, and Sykes' Restaurant in Kalispell, MT will be offering the
public more than their usual wealth of books, spiritual sanctuary and lunch,
respectively. In addition, healthcare professionals will provide free,
confidential memory screenings and educational materials about memory concerns
and brain health as part of National Memory Screening Day (NMSD), an annual
initiative of the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA).

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Evidence that memory screenings are moving more into the mainstream, these
three venues represent some of the more nontraditional sites across the nation
that are holding screenings on NMSD on November 13 or another day during
National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month in November.

AFA introduced the memory screening initiative in 2003. Local sites from the
onset have primarily been doctors' offices, hospitals, Alzheimer's agencies,
home care agencies and long-term care facilities; prominent institutions
participating this year include the Banner Alzheimer's Institute in Phoenix,
AZ and the USF Health Byrd Alzheimer's Institute in Tampa, FL, for example.

More recently, nontraditional sites have joined the bandwagon, and are among
the 2,500 NMSD sites this year. An increasing number of venues are also
holding screenings throughout the year as an outgrowth of NMSD.

"We are counting on local organizations to help bring memory concerns into the
mainstream," said Eric J. Hall, AFA's president and CEO. "While it may seem
unconventional for a healthcare professional to provide a memory screening at
a community venue like a library, a house of worship or even a shopping mall,
a decade of hands-on experience in testing hundreds of thousands of people
through AFA's memory screening initiative has made clear that these tools are
an effective intervention—and can ultimately change people's lives."

On NMSD, qualified healthcare professionals administer the face-to-face
screenings, which consist of questions and tasks, and take about five to ten
minutes. The results are not a diagnosis, but can indicate whether someone
should follow up with a healthcare professional.

Among the nontraditional sites, 42 libraries in several states will be
collaborating with health-related agencies to offer screenings this year.

Brenda Mauster, founder of Gathering Place Interfaith Ministries, Angleton,
TX, approached the Brazoria County Library System about holding screenings as
part of the agency's year-long initiative to raise awareness of Alzheimer's
disease in this rural area.

As a result, for the first time, ten of the system's 11 libraries will host 14
free screenings by volunteer nurses and social workers, and a speakers' bureau
on NMSD or throughout November.

"It's a lot less threatening to say, 'Let's just go to the library.' It's a
friendly, welcoming environment without the stigma of the health care system
that frightens so many people," suggested Tom West, the library system's adult
program coordinator.

In addition, the public can find screenings at independent pharmacies and
retail chains, including all 922 Kmart pharmacies nationwide on November 14,
and nearly 50 Fred Meyer stores in Alabama, Idaho, Oregon and Washington every
day by appointment year-round.

Among houses of worship, All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, OK will do
screenings for the second time this month, on November 14 from 4:00 p.m. to
6:30 p.m. At its event last week, 17 people, all 65 or older, were screened;
of them, five were referred to their physicians for follow up.

"Realizing the impact of the silver tsunami on the incidence of Alzheimer's
disease and other kinds of dementia, we think it's important for people to
know how they stand with their memory. We want to relieve their worries or
refer them on to their physicians," said Nancy Wilder, the church's parish
nurse whose parents both had Alzheimer's disease.

NMSD marks its 10^th anniversary as the nation is focusing increasing
attention on the escalating incidence of the brain disorder as the population
ages. The federal government's recently-released first National Plan to
Address Alzheimer's Disease urges both a greater emphasis on early diagnosis
and education about dementia. 

Fueling the concern that memory problems are not being addressed, an AFA
survey of NMSD participants in 2010 found that 92 percent of those polled had
never been given a screening by their primary healthcare provider; and 83
percent who were worried about their memory had not discussed their concerns
with a healthcare provider.

Currently, as many as 5.1 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease. Warning
signs include forgetting people's names and events, asking repetitive
questions, loss of verbal or written skills, confusion and personality
changes.

To find a screening site, visit www.nationalmemoryscreening.org or call
(toll-free) 866-232-8484.

In 2012, more than 30 leading professional organizations, including the
American Academy of Neurology, are supporting NMSD. Silver sponsors are
Accera, Inc., Forest Laboratories, Novartis Pharmaceuticals and Senior
Helpers.

The Alzheimer's Foundation of America, based in New York, is a national
nonprofit organization that unites more than 1,600 member organizations
nationwide with the goal of providing optimal care and services to individuals
confronting dementia, and to their caregivers and families. For more
information about AFA, call toll-free 866-232-8484 or visit www.alzfdn.org.

SOURCE Alzheimer's Foundation of America

Website: http://www.alzfdn.org
Contact: CAROL STEINBERG, +1-866-232-8484, media@alzfdn.org
 
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