A mind is a terrible thing to waste – and that certainly applies to seniors. In 2009, I will be looking at health fairs of all kinds. I will also be looking at issues affecting the wellness of the aging boomer babies, and the elderly they care for.
So health fairs for the elderly seem a good place to begin.
Last November, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) gave free memory screenings at over 2,000 health fairs across the country. The AFA encourages people concerned about their memory, or who have a family history of Alzheimer’s disease, to get screened and to establish a baseline score for future comparison.
Alzheimer’s disease affects roughly five million Americans, and is expected to triple within the next forty years.
For Adele Riback of New Brunswick, New Jersey, who attended a local screening, it was all good news. The 89 year old scored high on memorization, screening tests, spelling bees and other question-and-answer sessions to assess her memory capacity.
"I still have my marbles," said Riback, as reported in mycentralnewjersey.com.
Early screenings can significantly reduce health care costs. The cost of health care is a primary concern of Americans, second to the economy. More than two thirds of people surveyed recently by the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease agreed that “ catching and treating chronic disease early ” is the best way to improve the nation's health care.
Early identification of Alzheimer’s allows individuals to start treatments that slow the development of symptoms and can delay the need to enter an expensive nursing home.
What does this mean for wellness professionals?
Disease-specific screenings and fairs are often tied to specific months. November was National Alzheimer’s month, for example. January is the designated month for cervical cancer as well as for glaucoma awareness.