The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) is encouraging individuals to be proactive about their brain health during National Older Americans Month this May by getting a memory screening. AFA offers free virtual memory screenings every weekday which are available to everyone with no minimum age or insurance prerequisites.

Screenings can be scheduled by calling AFA at (866) 232-8484 or visiting www.alzfdn.org. A computer, smart phone, tablet or any other device with a webcam and Internet connection is all that is needed.

“Good cognitive health is an essential part of healthy aging. We need to be just as proactive about getting regular checkups for our brains as we do for other parts of our bodies, especially as we age,” said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., AFA’s president & CEO. “If you haven’t yet gotten your annual memory screening, now is a great time to schedule your appointment for a checkup from the neck up.” 

Memory screenings are simple, quick (10-15 minutes) and noninvasive, and consist of a series of questions, administered by a qualified professional, to gauge memory, language, thinking skills and other intellectual functions. They are similar to other routine health screenings, such as those for blood pressure, cholesterol and skin checks. Results are not a diagnosis, but a memory screening can suggest if someone should see a physician for a full evaluation.

Early detection of memory impairment is extremely important. Many different conditions can cause memory issues, including treatable or curable conditions such as vitamin deficiencies, thyroid conditions, urinary tract infections, stress, anxiety and depression.

Even in the case of a dementia-related illness such as Alzheimer’s, early detection can provide greater opportunity to begin treatments that can help slow the symptoms of the disease, as well as taking part in a clinical trial. 

In addition, it affords the person the chance to take advantage of community services, such as support groups and therapeutic programming, as well as have a greater say in making legal, financial and health care decisions.

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