Rosalynn Carter Institute's ROAD program provides confidential platform for early memory loss detection

RCI Executive Director Leisa Easom, Ph.D. / Georgia Southwestern

We have all occasionally forgotten what day it is, missed an appointment, or misplaced our car keys. You may wonder if this is normal aging or if it is a sign of a more serious problem. With a 2013 funding award of $10,000 from the Mattie Marshall Foundation, Georgia Southwestern State University's Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving (RCI) can help answer that question as it is offering a free and confidential memory loss screening program called ROAD (Reaching Out to Assess Dementia).

According to RCI Executive Director Leisa Easom, Ph.D., this confidential screening can be conducted in the home. "As we initiate this program, the screening service is limited to a 50-mile radius of Americus, but we hope that we can expand our reach in the future," she said.

Anyone, regardless of age, concerned about possible memory loss should have this screening done. The RCI's trained screener will come to your home, meet at the Phoebe Sumter Caregiver Support Center within Phoebe Sumter Medical Center, or you can visit us at the Rosalynn Carter Institute on Georgia Southwestern's campus for a private screening. The memory loss screening lasts about 30 minutes.

The screening score will indicate if there is a memory problem. If the test shows there is a potential memory loss problem, you will receive a confidential copy of your questionnaire to discuss with your physician or health care professional.

A recent study (June 2012) by General Electric and the Working Mother Research Institute found that 50 percent of families wished their loved one had been diagnosed with memory loss earlier. Eighty-four percent of General Electric clients had wished for earlier recognition of dementia so they could have had referrals, participated more in making decisions about medical options and benefited from appropriate interventions.

About 4.5 million people in the United States have Alzheimer's disease, and almost half of them are in the early stages of the disease (1 in 8 over the age of 65). In the coming years, these numbers are expected to grow. Data indicates that as Americans live longer, more will develop dementia in the older years. An earlier diagnosis gives people with the disease and their families more time to get the proper treatment and time to plan for the future.

"Our goal with the ROAD program at the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving is to provide a screening for memory loss for early referral and to let you know that you are not alone," said Easom.

Stay active in your care and decision making. Call today for your free and confidential screening: (229) 928-1234