U.S. Reps. Smith, Waters Mark Memory Screening Week and Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, Urge Citizens to Take Advantage of Free Screenings
WASHINGTON – U.S. Representatives Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), House Co-Chairs of the Bipartisan, Bicameral Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease, commended the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) for holding Memory Screening Week from Nov. 1-7 and urged the general public, especially those 65 and over, to take advantage of the screenings.
To find screening sites, one simply needs to enter their zip code at: https://www.afascreenings.org/search-us.
“I applaud the AFA for expanding access to these important screenings, which inform the healthcare decisions of our seniors and help them prepare for a better future. For many years I have collaborated with AFA to help raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and their work in eliminating stigma and providing clinical resources has helped countless Americans get the help they need,” said Smith.
“National Memory Screening Week 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.”
AFA has held National Memory Screening Day during National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month for the past 12 years. This year, the AFA has expanded the successful program to a whole week. From Nov. 1-7, local sites will offer free, safe and confidential memory screenings to the public, as well as patient education about brain health and successful aging.
“According to a recent study conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, about nine in 10 adults ages 40+ (91 percent) say without their memory, they wouldn’t be themselves. Yet, one in two (56 percent) say they have other health concerns more pressing than getting a memory screening,” said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., president and chief executive officer of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. “We encourage people to take advantage of the free, confidential memory screenings being offered throughout the country during National Memory Screening Week. A screening is much like other routine health check-ups – it’s simple, non-invasive and lasts less than 10 minutes.”
Memory screenings are not used to diagnose illness, but can help determine whether a person might benefit from further examination by a qualified physician. In addition to helping patients avoid or correct misdiagnosis and other medical problems, memory screenings benefit persons with healthy memory scores by dispelling fears, providing a baseline for future screenings and promoting healthy aging.
Alzheimer’s disease, a degenerative condition caused by disease of the brain, is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. While Alzheimer’s currently has no cure, early detection can help patients and caregivers plan for more positive health outcomes.
“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 continuing to expand its National Memory Screening Program.”
“I urge everyone to participate in a free memory screening this week,” said Smith, who noted that there are screening sites throughout New Jersey. “Knowledge is power, and in addition to providing earlier and more accurate diagnoses, memory screenings offer insight into brain health which can improve quality of life for all.”
For additional information on Alzheimer’s disease and memory screenings, visit:
Smith and Waters recently teamed up to introduce Alzheimer’s Action Now, a package of four bills that together aim to help Alzheimer’s patients and their families; promote public awareness of Alzheimer’s disease; and encourage voluntary contributions to research efforts. The Alzheimer’s Action Now legislative package includes three bills introduced by Rep. Waters in July: The Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Act (H.R. 3090), The Missing Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Alert Program Reauthorization Act (H.R. 3091), and the Alzheimer’s Disease Semipostal Stamp Act (H.R. 3092). The package also includes the Health Outcomes, Planning, and Education (HOPE) for Alzheimer’s Act (H.R. 1559) introduced by Rep. Smith in February.
The Task Force co-chairs also requested an increase in funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), specifically targeted for Alzheimer’s disease. While the bill did not make it to the floor prior to a continuing resolution, their efforts were recognized by the Appropriations Committee in the House. Their bill included a $300 million boost at NIH for AD, for a total of $886 million to continue the search for an Alzheimer’s treatment and cure.
Smith co-authored the bipartisan National Alzheimer’s Project Act or NAPA, which passed the House in 2010 and was enacted in 2011. NAPA set a goal of preventing and successfully treating Alzheimer’s disease by 2025 and established a national plan to coordinate government and private sector research as well as improve care and support services for patients and families. Click here to read the national plan.