Memory Screenings for Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Posted on August 17, 2016 · Posted in Grand Oaks

VNA mobile van

As our population continues to live longer, memory-related disorders become more and more prevalent. According to the Department of Elder Affairs, there are an estimated 5.4 million individuals in the United States living with Alzheimer’s disease. In Florida alone there are around 500,000 individuals living with the disease, and by 2020 this figure is predicted to increase by 80,000. These numbers are alarming, and the Visiting Nurse Association of Florida does not turn a blind eye.

VNA of Florida has provided free memory screenings in an effort to address the growing instances of Alzheimer’s, dementia, and confusion among Florida’s elderly population. “Providing free memory screenings in our communities is an essential service for our seniors,” says Nicolette Christie, an advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP) with extensive neurological experience who conducts the memory screenings and also staffs our mobile medical clinic. Screenings consist of an assessment made by Christie using best-practice screening tools, and a questionnaire if the individual’s caregiver is present. Many individuals with dementia do not realize they have a disorder, and family members or caregivers often fail to recognize the importance of early cognitive symptoms. While these screenings will not diagnose a specific illness, they are important tools for determining whether or not an individual has memory problems.

Early recognition for these illnesses is key when it comes to slowing their progression. Memory screenings can make a huge difference in the lives of individuals unaware of what their frequent forgetfulness implies. “While screenings do not diagnose problems, they can identify a need for a referral for further evaluation,” says Christie. “Many of the individuals I see for these screenings have little knowledge about what dementia is, and are looking for answers to their questions about dementia disorders. Having the ability to answer their questions in a private and secure manner is an important aspect of this service.”

VNA of Florida will continue to provide free memory screenings with the hope that those suffering from these illnesses can get the help they need as early in the disease’s development as possible. For more information on future screening dates, please contact Megan Bowden at 772-286-1844.