Many conditions cause memory issues, and early detection is essential for effective treatment, according to a national Alzheimer's disease organization.
The Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) encourages people to get a memory screening in the new year.
The foundation offers free, confidential virtual memory screenings. It doesn't set a minimum age and there are no insurance prerequisites.
"Annual memory screenings should be part of everyone's health and wellness routine, even if you're not currently experiencing memory problems. Just like other facets of our health, our brains need regular checkups, too," said Charles Fuschillo, Jr., foundation president and CEO.
"Start the new year off by being proactive about your brain health," he added in a foundation news release.
Screenings take about 10 to 15 minutes. They consist of questions meant to gauge memory, language, thinking skills and other intellectual functions.
The results are not a diagnosis but can help suggest if someone should see a physician for a full evaluation.
Among the conditions that can cause memory impairment are vitamin deficiencies, thyroid disorders, urinary tract infections, sleep apnea, stress, anxiety and depression — all treatable.
Even if someone has a dementia-related illness such as Alzheimer's disease, early detection can mean earlier treatment to help slow symptoms of the disease. Early detection might enable someone to take part in a clinical trial, or gain access to support groups and therapeutic programming, which can help maximize quality of life. This may also be an opportunity to have a greater say in making legal, financial and health care decisions.
You can get a free screening by calling AFA at 1-866-232-8484 or going through the foundation's website. You'll need a computer, smartphone or tablet with internet capability and a webcam for the screening.