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Senior Living: Memory tests important

November 11, 2010|By Nancy Turney

Q. I am concerned about my husband's memory. The doctor asked him who the president is, he gave the correct answer and the doctor said he is fine. What should I do?

You are wise to be concerned. We hear so much about Alzheimer's disease in the press lately, yet it is generally not diagnosed until 5-8 years after the first signs. Medication does not cure it, but will slow the progression and the sooner it is started the better.

In acknowledgement of National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month, the YMCA will be offering free, confidential memory screenings to the public on Tuesday, Nov. 16, National Memory Screening Day. We will be holding the screenings at Crescenta-Cañada YMCA from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and at Verdugo Hills YMCA from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. that same day.

National Memory Screening Day (NMSD) is an annual initiative of the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) to emphasize the importance of proper detection and treatment of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, as well as to provide information about successful aging and resources. Sites from coast to coast will be offering screenings on National Memory Screening Day.

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This free screening is not used to diagnose any particular illness and does not replace consultation with a qualified healthcare professional. However, it is an important first step toward finding out the cause of memory problems. Individuals with a below-normal score or those with normal scores but who still have concerns should follow up with a qualified healthcare professional.

Some memory problems can be readily treated, such as those caused by vitamin deficiencies or thyroid problems. Other memory problems might result from causes that are not currently reversible, such as Alzheimer's disease.

Early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease enables individuals to obtain medical treatment and social services and make legal and financial decisions that can improve quality of life.

The Steppingstones Program of Verdugo Hills Hospital will be assisting with the screenings. To make an appointment for a screening at either YMCA branch, call (818) 790-0123 ext 225.

NANCY TURNEY received a bachelor's degree in social work and a certificate in gerontology. If you have a specific question you would like answered in this column, e-mail it to lcnews@valleysun.net or call Turney at the Crescenta-Cañada YMCA, (818) 790-0123, ext. 225.

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