On November 16, 2010, the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) will be hosting its 8th annual National Memory Screening Day, which will provide free and confidential screenings. These memory screenings are available at libraries, pharmacies, hospitals, doctors' offices, senior centers and assisted living centers. Besides these locations, 1,600 Kmart pharmacies will have these memory screenings available from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Eric J. Hall, the president and CEO of the AFA, and Hector Elizondo, the AFA's honorary celebrity chairman, talked to EmpowHer about the importance of memory screenings.
This year is the AFA's 8th annual National Memory Screening Day. How has the turnout and response been in the past? What are you hoping for this year's National Memory Screening Day?
Eric: National Memory Screening Day is catching on across the nation. It has grown exponentially every year—in terms of the number of screening sites and the number of people who get screened and get educated. Last year, we estimate that about 60,000 people were screened—a record—and another 25,000 picked up information. This year, we expect participation to grow for multiple reasons. Word is getting out about the importance of memory screenings. Aging baby boomers are turning 65 next year and they’re thinking about their memory. We’re offering memory screenings in Spanish in several major cities so that helps with language and cultural sensitivity. And some very high profile sites, like the landmark New York Public Library and the entire chain of Kmart pharmacies, are on board. It’s easy and convenient to get screened.
You have been advocating for memory testing. Tell me about the AFA's National Memory Screening Day and your involvement in this campaign.
Hector: The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s National Memory Screening Day is an annual event that offers free, confidential memory screenings. The screenings are held at sites in local communities nationwide, like senior centers, pharmacies, Alzheimer’s agencies, libraries—places that people know in their communities.