The incidence of Alzheimer's is on the rise. There's no cure, but advocates say early detection of the brain wasting disease is important. A number of sites in Wisconsin will participate in a nationwide memory screening event this week.
Nationwide memory screening isn't just about Alzheimer's. It's also about finding treatable conditions. Alzheimer's Foundation of America President Eric Hall says the outreach effort is as much about detecting memory loss as it as educating people, "It's not about that you forgot where you put the keys. But that you forgot what the keys are used for. Those events are very distinct and different"
At the Kenosha Aging and Disability Resource Center, Rebecca Detter says they periodically do memory checks and participation is high. She stresses that a poor score indicating cognitive impairment is not a diagnosis, "This screening initiative really isn't to tell people that they have dementia. It's more to let them know that memory loss is not a normal sign of aging."
The memory tests takes about 10 minutes; people are asked questions like "what day is it?" Rita Mazur is associate director at an adult day center called The Past Time in Minocqua. She says it's up to the person undergoing the free, confidential screening to pursue follow-up care with their doctor, "Maybe you have a thyroid problem or a vitamin deficiency. It doesn't always mean you have Alzheimer's or pre-determined Alzheimer's disease. "
Sites doing the screening in Wisconsin include pharmacies, senior centers, and assisted living facilities.
Information on dates and times for screening sites around Wisconsin can be found at nationalmemoryscreening.org