The NY Times reports about a self-assessment test from Ohio State University to help detect early signs of dementia. The test was developed over five years by a team led by Dr. Douglas W. Scharre, a neurologist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Known as the Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination, or SAGE, the four-page test can be completed in about 10 to 15 minutes by patients at home, or while in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. The test, downloadable free on the medical center’s website, is now used at doctors’ offices nationally.
Ideally, said Dr. Scharre, physicians would screen older patients for possible memory and thinking problems during routine office visits. But often, doctors are busy, and patients don’t ask about it — perhaps because they fear what they will learn. That means many patients do not seek medical advice until their condition is quite advanced, he said.
Catching symptoms in the earlier stages can help families plan for the necessary, and often costly, care that lies ahead. The annual cost of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is roughly $57,000 on average, and families pay 60 percent of the tab, according to a recent report from A Woman’s Nation, a nonprofit media initiative.