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November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month, initiated by the Alzheimer's Foundation of America in 2003.
One of the events is National Memory Screening Day, Nov. 17. Some of you may have noticed various screening day campaigns in your area. Screenings often take place on senior campuses, long term care facilities or local retail businesses. To check screening sites in your area go to http://www.afascreenings.org/.
Regardless of whether you were to pursue a screening this week or another time, consider a few things. While screenings can be a good thing, widespread screenings for anyone who is not showing symptoms are not unanimously endorsed. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued a statement in 2003 that there was insufficient evidence for or against the screening of older adults.
The American Academy of Neurology recommends screening only when dementia is suspected. One of the main reasons against screening for everyone is that they result in a lot of false positives. In addition, many sources indicate that when a screening indicates a concern, many people never take the information to their doctor for further evaluation.
Yet, a community-wide memory screening can be a helpful first step for families if they are seeing signs of memory problems. The screening is relatively simple, accessible, and takes little time. It may help persons with memory concerns or their partners learn more about dementia and can be a good first step toward early diagnosis.
In general, we can all decide for ourselves if we want to participate in a community based memory screening given our own circumstances. If physicians and patients have a long standing relationship, memory problems usually get noticed in the office. The most important thing if you suspect memory changes is to see your doctor early and discuss your specific concerns.
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I am 60 yrs. old Today in my phyc. med 6 mo. office visit, I was asked to take the memory screen test.I know I didn't do well. I HATE these kind of tests. By the 2nd question I was feeling very anxious, stomache tight & my brain felt like it was racing.."Yelling at me ,your"re stupid, you can't do this. I finished the exam, but could feel my heart in my head. The doc. came back into the room. He said" I'm a bit suprised by your results." Could anxiety issued play a role in this? I've been on paxil for years. He wanted me to do more screening. After that exam, I said no. how about in a year?....and now I feel TERRIBLE!
To Marie: I cannot guess your pain nor know how you have resolved the situation with your sister, I can only offer my prayer and hope that you are both at peace with God and yourselves. I suffered a stroke that has scrambled my memory, my alertness, and even the tatters of my ego. My function failures are a pain to everyone (I having previously been perfect!!!), but I have still a security in the mercy of God--He hears my silences!
These medications help with the patients adls (activities of daily living: bathing, dressing, grooming, feeding). If he is still funtioning well keep him on the medication. If he is in end stages it may be time to d/c . But once you d/c you can never get back to that therapeutic level. I am a alzhiemer's nurse specialist. Many families struggle with this question. They are costly. Let your MD guide you.
My husband has been on Aricept for over two years. His children (6) want him off of it. They do not think he needs it. I think he should stay on it and our Dr. does also. What are the effects or dangers of him going off it?
My sister had a stroke in Nov. and was also diagnozed with dementia, she no longer functions, is weraing a diaper, remembers nothing. She was started on morphine a week ago since then she just sleeps deeply, no food or water. This is starvation. Who know what she is feeling, dreaming suffering...at this point shoud morphine be increased so she quietly passes?
Please note that the Memory Screening Day is in November. One of the questions on the screening test will likely be "What season is it?" It's OK to ask your screener what the criteria are. A difference between an answer of fall or winter based on the official start date of winter, vs. the fact you've already had several snowfalls in your region, should not matter if the person being screened understands the difference.
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