As part of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s (AFA) National Memory Screening Program, The ARK, Alzheimer’s Family Support Services will offer free, confidential memory screenings from 1-5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2 at St. Luke's Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall, 206 Central Ave. in Summerville. The ARK is also partnering with Hearing Care of Summerville to offer free hearing screenings.
Qualified health care professionals will administer the memory screenings and provide educational materials about memory concerns, brain health and caregiving. The face-to-face screenings consist of a series of questions and tasks, and last about 10 minutes.
Call 843-832-2357 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a screening appointment; walk-ins are welcome. In addition to the screenings, more than 20 local community resources, including free vision screening (Lions Club), aging in place resources (NAIPC), senior living, financial advisers, home health care, wellness coaches, and other businesses that promote successful aging.
Memory screenings are an important part of successful aging. Last year alone, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America screened more than 250,000 people through its National Memory Screening Program. Further, a recent study suggests that screenings may detect cognitive impairment up to 18 years prior to clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. This is the sixth year The ARK has offered this service through the foundation.
“Memory loss can be caused by many things, such as vitamin deficiencies or thyroid issues,” said Peg Lahmeyer, executive director at The ARK. “Memory screenings are an important first step toward finding out if a person may have a memory problem. While the results aren’t a diagnosis, they can indicate whether someone would benefit from a more complete medical visit.”
AFA suggests memory screenings for anyone concerned about memory loss or experiencing warning signs of dementia; whose family and friends have noticed changes in them; who believe they are at risk due to a family history of dementia; or who want to see how their memory is now and for future comparisons. Warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease include forgetting people’s names and events, asking repetitive questions, loss of verbal or written skills, confusion and personality changes.
Screeners emphasize that results are not a diagnosis, and encourage individuals who score below the normal threshold, as well as those who still have concerns, to see their primary care physician for a thorough evaluation.
Currently, there are more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease and that number is expected to nearly triple by mid-century. Advanced age is the greatest known risk factor for the disease, which results in loss of memory and other intellectual functions, and is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.