Monday, November 2, 2015

Time for a Memory Check. It's National Memory Screening Week.

This month I'm proud to be collaborating with four other authors of Alzheimer's books to raise awareness about the disease,  recognize the tireless work of the caregivers who selflessly give of themselves, their time, and their lives for the well being of loved ones who live with it, and to promote memory screenings. My first guest blogger is Jean Lee, an author I've never personally met but one I know well as we've shared our stories and talked via the internet and by phone over the last year or so. Jean is the author of the beautiful moving memoir Alzheimer's Daughter. After caring for two parents with dementia she worries after her own health, but understands that being proactive is important when faced with the risk of an Alzheimer's diagnosis. Here she tells us about the value of memory screenings. Is this something you would be comfortable doing? Would you want to know if you were on the road to dementia? Its a personal issue, with no right answers. Feel free to respond in the comments. To learn more about #AlzAuthors visit our Facebook event page and enter the giveaway to win a copy of Jean's wonderful book and the others in this collection. Here's Jean:

It's National Memory Screening Week.
Would you participate in baseline memory screening ages 60-65?

I’ll be 61 years old on my next birthday. Both of my parents died of Alzheimer’s. I wrote about my journey as their caregiver in Alzheimer’s Daughter. Does the thought that I might become afflicted with the disease haunt me? Yes. It niggles in the back of my mind.

I’m lucky to live in a small town and still doctor with a Marcus Welby, M.D. type family physician. This man has treated four generations of my family; my parents, myself, my children, my grandchildren. Needless to he knows us well. 

After Mom and Dad died, I asked my trusted doctor about my risk. He answered since my parents had not been diagnosed until they were in their mid-eighties it was not really a part of my family history. He reasoned if everyone had parents who lived into their eighties, nearly everyone would have a history. This reassured me, but still the thought persists, especially when I can’t think of a word I want to use, or lose my train of thought in a conversation.

November 1-7, 2015 is National Memory Screening Week, bringing awareness to the positive aspects of screening and attempting to remove stigma. When I visit my doctor for my yearly physical, my blood pressure is noted, I’m prompted to have a mammogram, vials of blood are drawn, I’m questioned about diet, exercise and assessed for depression. All of these are types of screening. Why not routinely offer a Mini Mental to patients at age 60-65 to collect some baseline data to which comparisons could be made as we age? I know, health care costs are already prohibitive and many people are afraid to know. 

As for me, I’d appreciate the baseline data. In the meanwhile I keep exercising, taking my fish oil and eating handfuls of spinach and kale.

About  Alzheimer's Daughter by Jean Lee

My memoir details my journey caring for both parents who were diagnosed on the same day. It is written with wincing honesty about the cruel affects of the disease, but a WWII love story held together by faith and family is contained within the pages.

About Jean Lee
Jean Lee wrote lesson plans for 22 years as an elementary school teacher. She had no aspirations to write a book, however when both parents were diagnosed on the same day with Alzheimer's, her journey as their caregiver poured out on paper. Her memoir, Alzheimer's Daughter is written with wincing honesty about the cruel effects of the disease, but a WWII love story held together by faith and family is contained within the pages.

Purchase Alzheimer’s Daughter

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