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Every senior needs cognitive screening, says the Alzheimer's Association

ATLANTA (CNN) – At first she just forgot a name or two. Then some meetings on her schedule. A few months later, LuPita Gutierrez-Parker found that she was struggling at work to use computer software that she knew intimately.

"In the beginning when I didn't know what happened to me, I just thought it had to be stress because I did a lot of work and had too much in my mind," Gutierrez-Parker said.

Another couple of months passed and she found herself reading the same passage in documents to understand their meaning. When her language command began to fail, Gutierrez-Parker, who lives in Yakima, Washington, began to worry.

"Why did I just say that?" It wasn't grammatically correct, "she would believe." It wasn't me. I have a very strong vocabulary. "I was a very articulate person."

But it took her a year to take up the subject with her primary care worker.

The delay in seeking answers to cognitive decline is not surprising, according to a study included in the Alzheimer's Association's 201

9 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures Report, released Tuesday.

"We need to increase the confidence and expertise of front-line suppliers so that they can provide more care in this area," said Joanne Pike, Alzheimer's Association Chief Program Officer.

"And we have to ward off the process for seniors, encourage people to talk to their caregivers and families about their concerns," she said.

Gutierrez-Parker's primary physician gave her a mini-cognitive assessment, asked her a little question orally and then on paper. It did not go well.

"I said," what did I do? "" Gutierrez-Parker remembered. "And we both laughed because she knew I was a trained woman."

A PET scan and neuropsychological evaluation six months later confirmed her worst fear. In 2016, at the approximate age of 61, Gutierrez-Parker was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, an early stage of dementia.

Although she was devastated, she also felt confident that they were finally labeling what was wrong with me "and encouraging others who are worried about their mental status to reach out to a doctor for help.

] The Alzheimer's Association could not agree with it.In its annual report, the association presents a call to the nation's primary care staff, each senior should receive a brief cognitive assessment at his first Medicare annual well-being at age 65, the group says and the tests should be a regular part of their ongoing annual care.

A study by the association found that early cognitive assessments were not the norm during most senior doctoral visits. among seniors and doctors, cognitive assessments are important for early detection of Alzheimer's disease only half of the pensioners in the cognitive decline survey. Only 16 percent [of] seniors received regular follow-up assessments. "

A comparison of this statistic compared to other wellness checkup items gives a clear picture of the difference, Pike said. In each visit, doctors check cholesterol 83 percent of the time, vaccinations 80 percent and blood pressure 91 percent of the time, she said "So while doctors say it's important to judge all patients aged 65 or older, fewer than half say it's part of their standard protocol," she says.

A good bit of it may be due to "a strong link between seniors and doctors about who should initiate the conversation," Pike said. Over 90 percent of the elderly thought their doctor would recommend testing, so fewer than 1 out of 7 raised the subject alone, the study found. Primary care personnel, on the other hand, say they are waiting for elderly patients and their families to report symptoms and request an assessment.

"We need to increase the trust and skills of suppliers of leading suppliers so that they can provide more care in this area," said Pike. "And we need to remove the process for seniors, encourage people to talk to their caregivers and families about their concerns. . "

Gutierrez-Parker agrees. She is grateful that she has the opportunity to spend quality time with her family and voluntarily for the Alzheimer's Association to raise awareness for her community.

" I would say to people who have the opportunity to find out what's wrong with them, do it, "she said." It gives you more opportunities to get your house in order: make advance payments, your will, even your funeral. It is calm and it takes you to relieve your family.

"Make it clear and enjoy the rest of your time with your family and your loved ones."

There is some good news buried in the annual report. A flurry of recent studies shows that Alzheimer's and other dementias in the United States and other higher income Western countries are in a decline, mainly due to tighter control of cardiovascular risk factors and improved education. But in general, the study results are mixed and undoubtedly blended with the report and will certainly have little effect on the current rise in US cases as

With no significant treatment and no treatment in sight, the association report projects that by 2025, the number of Americans 65 and older With Alzheimer's Will Reaching 7.1 Million – Nearly 27 P Increasing Increase From 5.6 Million Age 65 And Older Affected In 2019. "

It is the" oldest old ", the over 85, most vulnerable to Alzheimer's In 2019 there are just over 2 million Americans 85 and older; in 2031, when the first wave of baby boomers hits that age, the number will rise to 3 million. The oldest in the United States, which corresponds to half of all over 65 years of age with Alzheimer's.

The cost of society will be very high, the report says. a $ 290 billion burden from healthcare, long-term, and hospice combined. Medicare and Medicaid will cover $ 195 billion of that, with out-of-pocket healthcare costs amounting to $ 63 billion.

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