Memory Loss: When to worry and what to do
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Another good screening tool is the self-administered cognitive screening (SAGE) test that was developed at The Ohio State University Medical Center. This test helps identify mild cognitive impairment and early dementia, and can be taken at home in about 10 to 15 minutes. You can download the SAGE test along with scoring instructions at sagetest.osu.edu.
After going through the warning signs and/or the testing, if you're still concerned, go in to see your doctor for a thorough medical examination. Your doctor may then refer you to a geriatrician or neurologist who specializes in diagnosing and treating memory loss or Alzheimer's disease.
Keep in mind that even if you are experiencing some memory problems, it doesn't necessarily mean you have early stage Alzheimer's. Many memory problems are brought on by other factors like stress, depression, thyroid disease, side effects of medications, sleep disorders, vitamin deficiencies and other medical conditions. And by treating these conditions you can reduce or eliminate the problem.
Free Memory Screening
Another option you should know about is National Memory Screening Day on Nov. 13, where you can get your memory tested for free. Sponsored by the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA), this free service provides a confidential, face-to-face memory screening that takes about 10 minutes to complete and consists of questions and/or tasks to evaluate your memory status.
The screening is given by doctors, nurse practitioners, psychologists, social workers or other healthcare professionals in more than 2,500 sites across the country. It's also important to know that this screening is not a diagnosis. Instead, its goal is to detect problems and refer individuals with these problems for further evaluation.
To find a screening site in your area visit nationalmemoryscreening.org or call 866-232-8484. The AFA recommends checking for a screening location shortly before Nov. 13, because new sites are constantly being added.