Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, degenerative disorder that attacks the brain's nerve cells, or neurons, resulting in loss of memory, thinking and language skills, and behavioral changes. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia, or loss of intellectual function, among people aged 65 and older. Alzheimer's disease is not a normal part of aging.
The value of memory screening for us and our loved ones is that Alzheimer’s disease and other related illnesses can be detected, early, before major symptoms begin. My grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for almost a decade and everyone in my family wished that we had asked her to go for a memory screening, in the beginning, when we first started to think something may be wrong. My mother and her brother both get memory screening, now, as do other people in the family. Early detection can lead to intervention, including medical treatments, social services and other resources that can prolong quality of life.
The key to successful aging is a healthy, common sense lifestyle: visiting your doctor regularly; stimulating your brain with reading, puzzles, and other mental exercises; be social; daily exercise; and taking vitamins.
I encourage you to locate a memory screening location in your area for your loved ones during the month of November. There are locations all across the United States that are working with the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America to provide free confidential memory screenings, as well as follow up resources and educational materials to those concerned about memory loss.
While seeking a cure to Alzheimer's is important, ensuring quality care for those who suffer from the disease cannot be overlooked. Making a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association of America not only helps them toward finding a cure, but it helps them educate those living with and caring for people who have Alzheimer’s disease. It would also make a great holiday gift to make a donation in the name of your loved ones.