You know that trek most of us make every year — the one where our doctor’s office calls and tells us it’s time for our annual physical?
And then we hear, “but first I want you to go to the lab for a workup.”
So, we go to the lab, roll up our sleeve, get poked with a needle (hopefully they found their mark on the first try) and watch them fill up vial after vial until it feels like we have no more to give.
You then get that nice fat bandage, roll your sleeve back down and get ready to leave. But oh, no — here comes that funny little cup with the screw-on lid and directions to “that room.”
And if you’re really lucky, you’ll get to visit the other fun rooms where they take pictures of what’s under the skin, undergo a mammogram, or the biggie — a colonoscopy.
Then comes the visit to your doctor where you learn the results of all the contents of all those vials, the funny cup with the screw-on lid and your visit to the photographer.
Thirty minutes later you have gotten your gold star and sucker, and learned that your body should be good for another year.
So with a big smile on your face and a spring in your step you leave, feeling pretty good about everything thinking “all done till next year.”
What was the question?
But wait! There’s more! (sorry — couldn’t resist the infomercial moment). I would venture to guess that there probably was one test missing from your annual “head to toe” doctor visit.
You’re probably wondering “Now what? I’ve been poked, prodded, stuck and pictured — what else is there?” Well — it’s kind of a biggie. It’s a memory screening.
There it is — that look. That look I get whenever I mention memory screenings to those I come in contact with. Take a moment and think about it. We put our bodies through all types of tests just about every year because we’re told we should and because we want to be healthy.
But what do we do about checking our control center — the brain — the one part of the body that controls everything we do and everything that makes us who we are?
Most of us tackle our health problems head-on without a second thought. But when it comes to thinking about developing cognitive and memory problems, we make excuses like: “It’s just a senior moment,” “I’m just under a lot of stress,” “It must not have been important.”
But what if it is more than that? Wouldn’t you want to deal with a potential health issue now before it becomes too big a problem to treat?
Did you know that a failing memory or signs of cognitive impairment don’t necessarily mean you have dementia or Alzheimer’s?
That it could be related to an undiagnosed health problem?
Medication reactions, poor diet, vascular issues and sleep apnea are just a few causes of memory issues that possibly could be corrected with medical intervention.
A memory screening also is recommended to establish a baseline to be used as a comparison in case of a medical event.
Annual memory screenings are recommended as an early indicator of potential issues — just like lab tests.
So … the big question you probably are asking — what kind of test is it and where do I get tested?
Memory screenings are a quick and easy way to detect any potential issues. No needles, no pictures and no funny little cups with screw-on lids.
There are a number of different tests out there and most screeners have their preference. The majority of screening sites are in a nonthreatening environment done by compassionate screeners with experience working with cognitive impairments.
Unless a screener is a medical practitioner, he or she can’t give you a diagnosis, but can provide counseling and information for you to take back to your medical practitioner for follow-up.
November is National Memory Screening Month and Tuesday, Nov. 13, is National Memory Screening Day. The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America introduced the nation’s first National Memory Screening Day in 2003 and holds this event in collaboration with local organizations and health care professionals nationwide each November during National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.
NMSD marks the focal point of AFA’s national initiative to promote early detection and intervention for individuals concerned about memory loss as well as to educate the public about successful aging.
So where can you go for a screening? Discovery Memory Care in Sequim has partnered with the Alzheimer’s Foundation for many years as a community screening site.
Memory screenings are done free of charge and are open to all who wish to be tested. As a member of the annual National Memory Screening Day event, its staff will be providing free memory screenings on Nov. 13.
It is recommended that you call for a reservation, but walk-ins are welcome on a space-available basis. Call 683-7047 today to reserve your spot.
Discovery Memory Care is at 408 W. Washington St. in Sequim (between Walgreen’s and the Hi-Way 101 Diner). Don’t wait — call today! Space is limited.
REMEMBER – the brain you save may be your own!
Discovery Memory Care also is a year-round memory screening site and community resource center.
For more information and resource assistance, e-mail Pam Scott at www.discovery-mc.com or call 683-7047.
Contributing correspondent Pam Scott is the community relations director for Discovery Memory Care in Sequim.
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