DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It can be as small as forgetting what you ate for lunch, or as heartbreaking as forgetting a loved one’s name. Alzheimer’s disease gradually steals a person’s memory and will even eventually take away their ability to perform the simplest of tasks.
Tuesday is National Alzheimer’s Screening Day, and many facilities across the nation will be testing anyone – for free – who has concerns about memory loss.
Helen Wojcik was born and raised in France. The 84-year-old still lived there during World War II. “I remember when the Germans invade France,” Wojcik said. “I was there with my family.”
Now, Wojcik lives in an assisted living home in Flower Mound, which encourages all of its residents to remain active. But about three years ago, Wojcik’s daughter started to notice that her mother was not remembering simple elements in her life. “She remembers things from many, many years ago, during the war, when she was a little girl,” explained Yannick Haas, Wojcik’s daughter. “But she doesn’t remember what she had for lunch today.”
Senior citizens who are showing similar signs of memory loss are encouraged to take the Alzheimer’s screening test on Tuesday. It is a simple, three-part test that can help identify the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
Haas visits her mother nearly every day and plans to eventually get screened as well.
Vivian Shanahan’s family had some concerns about her memory, but the senior scored a perfect six on the exam. There is no indication from the screening test that she is showing any signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
The test itself does not diagnose Alzheimer’s disease or any related illnesses. Eric Caston with Senior Helpers explained, “It’s opening up a dialogue between you and your family and you and your physician, to look at what truly is going on, if any memory recall is ever a concern.”
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America and Senior Helpers are partners in the screening process. Locations all over North Texas will be offering the screenings free of charge on Tuesday as part of National Alzheimer’s Screening Day.