An early diagnosis is critical when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, and the high rate of both in Florida has led the Alzheimer’s Association to launch a new Florida-focused initiative.
If you are diagnosed early enough, you can be a part of the decision-making going forward, including figuring out the cost for future care. The Florida chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association and the Florida Department of Elder Affairs just launched the ALZ STARS program, which will teach participants early warning signs, such as short-term memory loss, struggling to do things that should be familiar to them or even losing items more frequently.
“If something’s changing with your cognition, talk about it, because there are many, many things that could be happening,” said Katie Fahrenbruch, director of community engagement for the Alzheimer’s Association. “We’re really excited about this. And we’re looking to just really, like I said, increase awareness all around Florida. As we know, Florida has the second-highest prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease in the country, so this is an important job for us to do right now.”
ALZ STARS will also educate participants on how to get diagnosed and explain care, communication strategies and the resources available.
“Really knowing, what’s the difference between normal aging and dementia symptoms? And when should I be concerned?” Fahrenbruch said. “This initiative is really around educating the masses on early detection, early diagnosis, why is it important? What is it, you know, why we need to do it?”
The ALZ STARS program is online. It includes a 45-minute video with a short 10-question quiz.