Tuesday is the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s National Memory Screening day. More than 130 sites around Pennsylvania will offer free screenings Tuesday or later during the month of November to increase early detection of memory problems.
In Philadelphia, health-care professionals and social workers will administer the tests at senior centers, nursing homes and pharmacies.
Dr. Marvin Kalafer, who will be offering screening at his Jenkintown, Pa., practice, said early detection of memory problems is important because some types of mild cognitive impairment are reversible.
“The early recognition provides an opportunity for health-care professionals to treat that condition, and possibly slow down the changes insofar as memory loss,” Kalafer said.
Some types of memory loss can be caused by depression or certain types of medication.
The screenings can also help reassure people who are worried by the kinds of normal forgetfulness that come with age, says Dr. Ausim Azizi, who heads the department of neurology at Temple University School of Medicine.
“Hopefully if that happens, and people come for memory screening and memory screening is normal, that will alleviate that worry and that concern and that anxiety,” Azizi said.
Following a screening, those who show signs of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia can get the followup medical care and social support they may need.
The screenings are free and usually last 10 to 15 minutes.
Different providers use different screening tools.
Commonly, patients are asked to follow a set of instructions or draw a picture, and answer a series of questions about the time and place.
Those interested in getting a screening can find a location at nationalmemoryscreening.org.