A free exam is crucial in Alzheimer’s detection, but many seniors don’t know to ask for it

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Every 65 seconds, someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia. Early detection is key to reducing this number, but not all physicians provide the necessary tests needed to assess memory issues.

Juliette Bradley lost several loved ones to the disease and works to help others in the same position.

"Cognitive assessment is extremely important especially for anyone over the age of 65," said Bradley.

The health exam is free for people over the age of 65 and covered under the Medicare Annual Wellness Exam. The problem is that many seniors never receive the critical test from physicians and do not know to ask for it.

"It is very surprising but we have to remember that those exams take a little bit of time. The physicians out there are not offering it because the patients are not asking for it," said Bradley.

New research from Alzheimer's Association shows only 16 percent of seniors receive the tests to check for memory issues. Bradley says this exam should be like any other routine test you take for cholesterol, blood pressure or diabetes. She recommends family members join their loved ones at the next doctor visit and make sure to specifically ask for the memory exam.

According to Alzheimer's Impact Movement, there are more than 890 deaths from Alzheimer's disease in Kansas. That number rises to 2,500 in Missouri.

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