Are you becoming more forgetful?
Do you have trouble concentrating, or remembering words in conversation?
Do you have difficulty performing familiar tasks, or do you sometimes forget where you are or where you’re going?
If you or your friends have noticed you’re showing evidence of memory loss, a simple test might be the first step in getting help for it.
As part of the National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, the Golden Living Center in Franklin and the Morton Senior Dining program are hosting free memory screenings in November.
However, although the screenings are sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, the tests aren’t just designed to look for evidence of that one disease.
“We’re looking for evidence of mild neuro-cognitive disorders, not necessarily Alzheimers or dementia,” said Teresa Best, certified occupational therapy assistant at the Golden Living Center of Franklin.
Other causes of possible memory loss include stress, medications, brain tumors, vitamin deficiencies, and psychiatric conditions.The event is being held in Franklin on Nov. 13 from 12-2 p.m., and on Nov. 14 from 11:45 a.m. - 1 p.m
In Morton, the screenings will take place during the regular Morton Senior Dining from 11:30 a.m. through 1 p.m.
“Last year we did about 45 screenings between the two sites,” said Best.
The Golden Living Center has provided the screenings as part of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month for the past four years.
The screenings only take about five minutes, and don’t require any registration ahead of time. Just feel free to drop in.
The screening consists of about 10 questions or simple tasks testing short-term memory, language skills, and other intellectual functions.
When the screening is over, you will be given a note to show your physician.
“We don’t do any diagnosis ourselves; we’re just the messenger. We provide you with a jumping off point to discuss with your doctor,” said Best.
Best also recommended people take the screening every year, as a way of keeping track of any progress or deterioration in memory.
“It’s good if you can keep the results from year to year as a comparative,” she said. “The more you know, the more you understand about your condition, the more apt you are to help yourself.”
Best said the most effective way to combat memory loss is to simply keep your mind active every day. Even doing crossword puzzles, word games, and other simple activities can make a big difference.
“I always tell my patients, with brain cognitive function, you ‘use it or lose it,’” said Sarah Spoor, speech therapist at the Golden Living Center.
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