By Vanessa Mosharaf
(DALLAS, Texas) — Buckner Retirement Village hosted a free Alzheimer’s and dementia screening and information session Thursday, June 19 for Dallas/Fort Worth residents looking to diagnose early symptoms of memory loss.
The free screenings were offered throughout the day using the cutting edge GrayMatters® system, created by Dr. Samuel Brinkman., who spoke along with Lisa Brodsky from the Alzheimer’s Association and Dr. Richard Taylor, an Alzheimer’s patient and author of the book Alzheimer’s From the Inside Out.
Pearl Merritt, president of Buckner Retirement Services Inc., said they wanted to raise awareness of the disease by offering positive solutions.
“This is an educational tool,” she said. “By bringing this to Buckner and having it available to people in the community, we are bringing awareness about how big of a problem Alzheimer’s is becoming and what can be done to slow its progress once diagnosed.”
The GrayMatters screening process helps people to deal with Alzheimer’s by recognizing the disease and start treatment early, Brinkman explained. Early detection can lead to as much as two added years of clarity and a much higher quality of life.
The assessment system is a simple computer touch-screen program with audio directions, combining accuracy and economic feasibility by eliminating personnel costs.
“If you’re going to screen millions of people each year it has to be really affordable,” he said.
Taylor, author of the book Alzheimer’s from the Inside Out, gave insight into what living with Alzheimer’s is like. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease seven years ago and stressed the importance of maintaining relationships to maintain a sense of purpose.
“Alzheimer’s is really a social disease that requires social medicine,” he said, meaning love.
What often happens is that those with Alzheimer’s are treated inappropriately, he explained. They begin to lose their humanity in the eyes of those who don’t understand them — which only worsens the problem.
“Those with Alzheimer’s are too often characterized as ticking time-bombs, fading away until one day they are lose all humanity,” he said. “We lose today because you’re cheerleading us to get back to yesterday. Well, I want to live in today.”
Buckner Retirement Services has planned a similar free screening on July 23 at Parkway Place, a Buckner retirement community in Houston, and another event in August at Buckner Villas in Austin.
“This is a special thing for Buckner,” Brinkman said. “Buckner is a place that has vision and an idea for what things could be in the care of the elderly. It has talent in achieving that vision and it has never lost sight of its mission of sharing the blessings of the Lord to people that could benefit it. So we are happy to give a little back.”
For more information about future Alzheimer’s screenings at Buckner retirement communities, please visit www.bucknerretirement.org.
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