SALEM - Area senior citizens experiencing lapses in memory may want to take five or ten minutes for a free memory screening Tuesday morning at the Salem Community Center.
Sponsored by Visiting Angels of Salem and the Salem Area Visiting Nurse Association, the confidential screenings will be available from 8 a.m. to noon at no cost at SCC, 1098 N. Ellsworth Ave., with refreshments to be served.
"A lot of people think memory loss is a normal part of aging, but it really isn't," Visiting Angels office manager Connie Frenger said.
She's seen the effects of memory loss in her own mother. Visiting Angels decided to provide the free screening locally, with the Salem Area Visiting Nurse Association conducting the testing.
The local event coincides with National Memory Screening Day, which was introduced in November 2003 by the Alzheimer's Foundation of America as a means to promote early detection of memory problems. November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month.
"It's important to know if that's happening," Frenger said, explaining the screening can help detect if there's short-term memory loss.
According to a web site at www.nationalmemoryscreening.org, residents can ask themselves some questions before deciding whether to be screened. Some of those questions deal with memory loss, trouble with concentration, difficulty performing familiar tasks, trouble remembering words or names, forgetting destination or the reason for going somewhere, getting lost or misplacing things more often.
Frenger said it's the first step in finding out if a problem exists. The screening isn't for diagnosis of an illness, such as dementia or alzheimer's disease, but the results will be provided to each participant so they can share the information with their physician.
People who come for the screenings can also pick up free educational materials related to memory problems, dementia and caregiving.
Warning signs of dementia listed on the web site included: trouble with new memories, using memory helpers, trouble finding words, confusion about time, people or places, struggling to finish familiar tasks, misplacing familiar objects, making bad decisions, loss of interest in responsibilities and personality changes.
For information about the memory screening, call Visiting Angels at 330-332-1203.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org