Critter Corner: It’s Alzheimer’s Awareness Month — Get a Free Virtual Screening!

Hayek 1Dear Hayek,

I often experience memory loss. I am not sure if it’s just old age or other health issues, such as perhaps vitamin deficiency or lack of sleep. Are there any free virtual screenings that you know of that screen for Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia? I will definitely check in with my doctor, as well, but I wanted to see what was available. Thanks for your help!

Vera Tuwall-Screenins

Dear Vera,

November is Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. Recognizing the need for heightened awareness of this disease, President Reagan made this designation in 1983. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there were less than two million Americans with Alzheimer’s disease at that time. Since then, that number has increased to nearly six million nationally. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), roughly 50 million people worldwide live with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.

Why Early Detection Is So Important

Although there is currently no cure for any type of dementia, if a person is experiencing memory problems due to Alzheimer’s disease or any other form of dementia, early detection can mean starting medications and other therapeutic interventions sooner, which may help postpone or slow down the progression of dementia. An early diagnosis or early indicator can also help make it more possible for people to participate in a clinical trial and to be active in helping to develop their own care plan.

Today we will talk about three free screening tools that you can use to test yourself or a loved one for dementia.

Alzheimer’s Foundation of America One-on-One Virtual Memory Screenings

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) offers a free virtual memory screening service. The test is offered weekdays in a secure virtual format and has no minimum age or insurance requirements. The free virtual memory screenings allow individuals to receive one-on-one, confidential memory screenings from a qualified professional using their computer, smartphone, or tablet.

“Just as we routinely get our blood pressure and cholesterol evaluated and undergo other health screenings, we need to regularly check our brain health too,” said Charles Fuschillo, Jr., president and CEO of the foundation. “Alzheimer’s Awareness Month is a great time to be proactive about your brain health by getting a memory screening, regardless of whether you’re experiencing memory issues.”

Here’s how the test works:

• Screenings are conducted one-on-one through secure videoconference technology (e.g., Zoom, FaceTime, Skype) in real time, allowing individuals to get screened from the comfort and safety of their home or office. All that’s needed is a phone, computer, tablet, or any other device with a webcam and Internet capability.
• The screening consists of a series of questions to test memory, language, thinking skills and other mental functions.
• Once the 10- to 15-minute screening is complete, a screener will review results with you. Results are confidential.
• Appointments for the free AFA Virtual Memory Screening can be made by calling the foundation at 866-232-8484 or on its website.

SAGE – a Self-Administered Online Memory Exam from Ohio State University

SAGE is the Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam (SAGE), designed to detect early signs of mild cognitive impairment. SAGE evaluates your thinking abilities and helps you determine how well your brain is working. This is a less intrusive exam as it allows you to do it on your own, anytime you wish, without scheduling an appointment. There are four slightly different versions of the test, and you can use any one of them and repeat the exam as many times as you wish to track your progress over time.

This link from Ohio State University allows you to download and print out the SAGE at-home screening, and this link allows you to score the exam.

Alzheimer’s Association 10 Point Checklist

For something much simpler, you can download the Alzheimer’s Association 10 point check list here.

Hope this is helpful!


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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.

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