Early detection of memory issues is important.
It can help rule in or out a variety of health issues, including vitamin deficiency, thyroid condition, sleep apnea, urinary tract infection and, of course, Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America suggests getting screened through its free service during Alzheimer’s Awareness Month in November. The test is offered on weekdays in a secure virtual format, and has no minimum age or insurance requirements.
The foundation’s virtual memory screening consists of a series of questions to test memory, language, thinking skills and other mental functions. Once the 10- to 15-minute screening is complete, a screener will review the results with you. Results are confidential.
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Signs of Alzheimer’s
If you have mild Alzheimer’s, you may seem perfectly healthy but have trouble making sense of the world around you. The realization that something is wrong may come gradually to you and your family. Alzheimer’s is often diagnosed at this stage. The National Institute on Aging notes the following as symptoms of mild Alzheimer’s:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life
- Poor judgment, leading to bad decisions
- Loss of spontaneity and sense of initiative
- Losing track of dates or knowing current location
- Taking longer to complete normal daily tasks
- Repeating questions or forgetting recently learned information
- Trouble handling money and paying bills
- Challenges in planning or solving problems
- Wandering and getting lost
- Losing things or misplacing them in odd places
- Difficulty completing tasks such as bathing
- Mood and personality changes
- Increased anxiety and/or aggression
If you are experiencing memory problems due to Alzheimer’s disease, early detection can mean starting medications and other therapeutic interventions sooner.
It may also make it more possible for you to participate in a clinical trial and to be active in helping to develop your own care plan.
In some cases, memory problems have nothing to do with Alzheimer’s. Memory problems can also be caused by aging.
Are your memory problems a sign of normal aging or Alzheimer’s? Here’s how to tell: