The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) has been awarded a Suffolk County Marathon grant to provide free memory screenings to Suffolk County veterans and their families. Screenings will take place every Monday and Wednesday from 10 am to 4 pm and every Friday from 10 am to 2 pm and will be conducted virtually, allowing veterans to get screened from the comfort of their own homes. Veterans can make an appointment by calling AFA at 866-232-8484.
Screenings will be conducted one-on-one by a qualified healthcare professional through secure videoconference in real-time. A computer, smartphone or tablet containing a webcam is all that is needed to participate in the free program.
“AFA is extremely grateful to be awarded a $7,000 Suffolk County Marathon Grant, which will help us provide Suffolk County veterans with free, confidential memory screenings and information about brain health,” said AFA President & CEO Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. “Memory screenings are a valuable part of a good health and wellness routine. It is important to get regular brain checkups like we do for other health screenings, such as blood pressure and cholesterol. Working with Suffolk County, we look forward to delivering this free service to the men and women who served our country.”
“Every year the Marathon raises money to support veteran services in Suffolk County, and to date we have raised nearly $600,000,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “With the largest veterans population in New York State, Suffolk County is proud to provide these grants to organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, who will use the funding to assist our heroes in need.”
Memory screenings consist of a series of questions to gauge memory, language, thinking skills and other intellectual functions. Results are provided and explained at the end of the screening, which normally takes 10-15 minutes. Results are not a diagnosis, but a memory screening can suggest if someone should see a physician for a full evaluation.
Oftentimes, memory problems can be caused by treatable or curable conditions, such as a vitamin deficiency, thyroid problem or depression. If the memory problems are the result of something such as Alzheimer’s disease, early detection can enable the person to begin medications sooner, participate in a clinical trial and take a more active role in developing their care plan.
In addition to the virtual memory screenings, veterans can exercise their brains regularly using AFA’s online memory test by visiting www.afamemorytest.com.
Veterans may have certain factors based on their military experiences, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI) or depression, which can cause memory impairments and/or increase their risk of dementia. According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), studies by researchers from the San Francisco VA Health Care System and the University of California, San Francisco found that:
Older veterans with a TBI diagnosis had a 60 percent greater risk of developing dementia over a nine-year period, compared with veterans of the same age who had not suffered a TBI.
Veterans who had been POWs (Prisoners of War) had about a 50 percent greater risk of developing dementia in later life. Those who were POWs and developed PTSD had more than double the risk.
Veterans who would like to make an appointment for a virtual memory screening can contact AFA at 866-232-8484.