Report finds few seniors are getting routine memory checkups

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Shou-Mei Li, left, wraps a scarf around her husband Hsien-Wen Li, who is an Alzheimer’s patient, as their daughter Shirley Rexrode, right, looks on, at their home in San Francisco, in this photo taken Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011. Dementia is poised to become a defining disease of a rapidly aging population _ and a budget-busting […]

A new report finds few seniors get their thinking and memory abilities regularly tested during check-ups.
    
Medicare pays for an annual “wellness visit” that is supposed to include a brief check for some early warning signs of dementia, so people who need a more thorough exam can get one. It might include questioning a patient and his or her family, or a more formal quiz.
    
An  Alzheimer’s Association survey found about half of seniors say they’ve ever discussed thinking or memory with a health care provider, and less than a third report ever getting formally assessed for cognitive problems. Even fewer, 16 percent, say they get checked regularly.
    
The report, being released Tuesday, urges people not to miss an opportunity to bring up memory concerns with their doctors.
 

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