Tips to help concerned individuals speak with their loved one about a possible need for memory screening.

While the Alzheimer’s research is encouraging, there is a
long way to go before Alzheimer's disease is considered preventable. The best
treatment for Alzheimer's right now is to catch it early and then work to slow
the symptoms. Alzheimer's disease is diagnosed via an extensive evaluation done
by a qualified clinician, looking to rule out other potential causes of the
symptoms of dementia. There is also a basic memory screening test which can
evaluate language skills, memory, and cognitive abilities. While it cannot
detect Alzheimer's definitively at this time, the basic memory screening test
can indicate whether further screening is recommended and provide a
baseline. 

The problem with early diagnosis is that many people are so
afraid that they do not seek medical attention in a timely fashion. However,
for most people it’s uncomfortable for a loved one to even broach the subject.

The Alzheimer's Foundation of America has released a list of
tips to help concerned individuals speak with their loved one about a possible
need for memory screening. Tips include:

  • Acknowledging
    worry. It is fine to tell the individual that memory issues can be a cause
    for concern and testing is the best way to find out if there is something
    going on.
  • Asking
    for help. Enlist the individual's physician to run a memory screening at
    the next visit or ask for a neurology referral.
  • Making
    it personal:  Mention that "It would make me feel better"
    for them to get a medical "all clear."
  • Framing
    it as preventative. Explain that there are new techniques to help avoid
    memory loss with aging and part of that effort includes a memory
    screening.
  • Keep
    it simple. Many people have a strong emotional reaction to the name
    "Alzheimer's." Just present it as a memory screening as part of
    a regular checkup done after a certain age.
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