According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2019 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, early detection of dementia provides a number of medical, social, emotional and planning benefits for affected individuals and their caregivers. However, evidence indicates that less than half of seniors are being assessed for cognitive decline, and just one in seven seniors receive regular assessments for memory or thinking issues during routine health checkups.

When I first noticed that my husband Robert was having memory issues, I accompanied him to his next primary care physician’s appointment and requested that his doctor perform a cognitive assessment testing, which led to a diagnosis of vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s. Knowing Robert’s diagnosis allowed us to plan for the future together and focus on quality of life.

Today, Robert and I traveled to Albany with other advocates from the Alzheimer’s Association and met with our legislators. We shared our story and asked them to support investment in programs that would provide educational opportunities for seniors in our state to learn about Alzheimer’s and other dementias and increase awareness of the benefits of early diagnosis.

Laura Pearce