Early Identification of Dementia: Identifying Risks, Taking Action

There are currently 5.4 million people in the United States with Alzheimer’s disease.  By 2020, the projection is that between 11 and 16 million will have the disease. The increased numbers of people with Alzheimer’s will have an impact on families, caregivers and the state’s healthcare system.

Early diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia disorders has tremendous potential to help persons with dementia and their families use community-based support services to improve quality of life.  In addition an early diagnosis may significantly delay out-of-home, long-term care placement.

Community health care professionals are an important resource for individuals and families. They may notice changes in an individual’s cognitive functioning and be the key to helping the person seek appropriate medical care. This presentation will focus on the definitions of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia disorders, the risk factors for developing dementia and the evidence based tools that community health providers can use to identify individuals who may have dementia. Community health care providers will leave with tools and resources to take action and support individuals and families who experience dementia.

About the Instructor:

Marsha Berry is the Professional Education manager for the Alzheimer’s Association Minnesota-North Dakota. Marsha has a Master’s degree in Education from Eastern Michigan University. She began her career teaching students with special needs in public schools. She then managed professional education programs for the Multiple Sclerosis Societ, Minnesota Chapter. Most recently she offered training to master’s level consultants in Ceridian’s LifeWorks Services employee assistance program. That training focused on family issues including support of older family members and elder cared services. Marsha is certified by the Alzheimer’s Association to offer Foundation of Dementia Care and Activities Based Alzheimer’s Care to health care professionals. She is a Certified Alzheimer Educator (National Certification Board for Alzheimer Care).

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