Press Releases

Reps. Waters & Smith Commemorate National Memory Screening Day

Bipartisan House Alzheimer’s Caucus and the Alzheimer’s Foundation Call Attention to No-Cost Screenings on Nov. 19

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Washington, DC, Nov 15, 2013 | Latoya Veal | comments

 U.S. Representatives Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Chris Smith (R-N.J.), House co-Chairs of the Bipartisan, Bicameral Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease, today encouraged participation in the 11th annual National Memory Screening Day on Nov. 19.

“National Memory Screening Day is a wonderful opportunity for individuals with memory concerns to get free and confidential screenings for Alzheimer’s disease and other problems affecting memory,” said Waters. “It is also an opportunity to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and promote the value of memory screening and early detection.”
 
“Having worked with the dedicated men and women of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) for many years, I am grateful for their consistent work in raising Alzheimer’s awareness and the benefits of early detection and memory screenings.  Their lead in a coordinated, organized effort helps ensure that Americans have access to the safe evaluation tools that can indicate if further evaluation is warranted,” said Smith. 

AFA initiated the first National Memory Screening Day in 2003 and holds the event in collaboration with local organizations and healthcare professionals each November during National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and affects more than 5.4 million Americans, one in eight seniors. The disease, which is characterized by steadily deteriorating loss of thinking, reasoning and memory skills, has a devastating impact on those with the disease but can also take an enormous toll on the 15 million family members and others who act as caregivers to those in need.

In New Jersey, an estimated 150,000 individuals over 65 have Alzheimer’s, and nearly 430,000 caregivers provide unpaid care.  In California, over 600,000 have Alzheimer’s disease with 1.2 million family members providing care.

If left unaddressed, the national AD population is projected to triple to 16 million by 2050. It is important to ensure all Americans understand the disease and check out memory problems and memory screenings are an important tool to do so.

On Nov. 19th, local sites are offering free, confidential memory screenings to the public and distribute educational materials about memory concerns, dementia, caregiving and successful aging. Find a site by entering a zip code here: http://www.afascreenings.org/.

Last year, an estimated 85,000 people participated at more than 2,300 sites on National Memory Screening Day.  This November, more than 7,000 sites nationwide are participating on November 19 itself or throughout the month.

“Just like people are concerned about the health of their bodies, they should also be concerned about the health of their brains. Likewise, just like doctors regularly test for conditions like heart disease, cancer and diabetes, so should they monitor a person’s memory,” said Carol Steinberg, AFA’s president.  “There is a lot to be said about being proactive when it comes to your memory.”

Memory screenings are a safe and cost-effective intervention leading individuals to seek appropriate clinical resources, thus reducing the costs of long-term care or hospitalization resulting from undiagnosed complications. A memory screening is not used to diagnose any illness but is used as an indicator to determine whether a person might benefit from further examination by a qualified physician. Screenings also greatly benefit those with normal scores, by allaying fears, providing a baseline for future screenings, and promoting chronic disease prevention and successful aging.

“Early detection of Alzheimer’s disease improves treatment and helps individuals and families plan for their future,” said Waters. “I congratulate the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America for organizing the 11th annual National Memory Screening Day.”

“We know that early diagnosis, treatment and access to support services have demonstrable benefits for an individual’s health and can lower the cost of long-term treatment,” said Smith. “Tuesday, you can learn more about memory problems and brain health, and get screened locally, at no cost.  Everyone should sign up for this opportunity.”

For additional information on Alzheimer’s disease and memory screenings, visit: www.nationalmemoryscreening.org.

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