Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Tribute to Veterans

Later this week is Veteran’s day and with privilege I dedicate this column to three veterans near and dear to me – Len, Billie, and my Dad. I thank god for them and all veterans like them without whom we wouldn’t have freedoms we’ve grown accustomed to. Freedoms we as Americans take for granted. As citizens of the United States, we have many freedoms people of other countries do not have. We have luxuries, both materialistic and untouchable, making our lives and our children's lives so very much better. We have the power to choose, to state our thoughts and ideas and to move freely within our own country. We have the right to protest, vote and purchase our own homes. We can protect our families and ourselves. However, these luxuries did not come without a price. Many U.S. Military men and women encountered some of the most gruesome battles, triumphing over some of the biggest nations to maintain the very freedoms we have today. As U.S. Soldiers, they left the soil of their own country to save the solid ground we walk on today, forever changing their lives and that of their families. Sadly, many soldiers paid for our freedom with their own lives. As U.S. Citizens, we all owe much gratitude to those who have fought for us and our country, because we treasure the peace and freedom we have. Slightly less than half of all Americans who ever served during wartime in our country’s history are alive today and nearly 80% of all of today’s veterans served during a war. The largest group of veterans fought in World War II. You might (or might not) be surprised to know that there are approximately 28,000 veterans in Niagara County according to the census. To commemorate Veteran’s Day, Lewiston Genealogy Librarian an author Michelle Kratts will present a special program on Friday, November 11th from 10:30 – 11:30am at The Dale Association, 33 Ontario Street, Lockport about Niagara County during World War II. Stories and photos will depict the home-front, rationing, and the contributions people in our county made to the war. Michelle’s recently published book will also be available.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Value of a Memory Screening

Are you concerned about memory problems? Most people with dementia remain undiagnosed by their primary care providers, and families often fail to recognize the significance of early cognitive symptoms. In response, there has been a growing interest in screenings for memory problems. November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s (AFA) annual National Memory Screening Day is scheduled for Thursday, November 17th, from 1:00 – 3:30pm. The Dale Association is honored to be selected as a site for the National Memory Screening Day, along with many other community organizations across the country. Community members are invited to be proactive about their memory health and check up on their memory. National Memory Screening Day is an annual initiative spearheaded by the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA), in collaboration with more than 2,000 community sites across the nation that promotes early detection of memory problems as well as Alzheimer's disease and related illnesses, and encourages appropriate intervention. As part of National Memory Screening Day, free, confidential memory screenings are offered as well as follow up resources and information about dementia and successful aging. These screenings are not a diagnosis, but can suggest whether a medical evaluation would be beneficial. Extensive study has indicated that these screenings are of value to individuals who participate in them. Some memory problems can be readily treated, such as those caused by vitamin deficiencies or thyroid problems. Other memory problems might result from causes that are not currently reversible, such as Alzheimer’s disease. In general, the earlier the diagnosis, the easier it is to treat one of these conditions. Alzheimer’s Foundation of America says the continuing growth of National Memory Screening Day reinforces the need for this service. Currently, as many as 5.1 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, and the incidence is rising in line with the swell of baby boomers. The prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease doubles every five years beyond age 65. Unfortunately, with an issue as sensitive as Alzheimer’s disease and related illnesses, there is often misinformation. AFA has provided us with some facts to address some of the more common misconceptions about memory screening and National Memory Screening Day. AFA believes that all individuals should be empowered to make informed decisions to better manage their own health, not discouraged from screening based on misinformation and urges anyone concerned about memory changes, at risk of Alzheimer’s disease due to family history or who wants to check their memory now and for future comparison to get screened. Memory screenings are a significant first step toward finding out if a person may have a memory problem. Memory problems could be caused by Alzheimer’s disease or other medical conditions. The memory screening tests made available to participating sites (including The Dale Association) are validated for effectiveness. It is important to keep in mind that NO medical test, whether for screening or for diagnosis, is 100% accurate and any test can produce “false positive” or “false negative” results. However, the memory screening test that AFA provides for National Memory Screening Day demonstrates 80 – 90% or higher probability of true positives and probability of true negatives in reviewed studies – similar to other established screening tests such as a mammography and Pap smear. The face-to-face screening takes place in a private setting. The person who administers the screening reviews the results with the person who is screened, and suggests that those with abnormal scores and those with normal scores but who still have concerns follow up with a physician or other healthcare professional. The person who is screened receives the screening results to bring to his or her healthcare professional, as well as materials with information about memory issues and questions to ask healthcare professionals. Information about successful aging, including the benefits of proper diet, physical exercise, mental stimulation, socialization and stress management will also be available. Please help us spread the word about National Memory Screening Day on November 17, 2016. Appointments are now being accepted for a free memory screening; please call 433-1886 to reserve your spot.