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Memory testing asks for simple answers

Scott N. Miller
Shane Macomber/Vail DailyReporter Scott Miller gives a quick whoop after getting a perfect score on his memory test. Doreen Constantine, left, a case worker for Eagle County, gave memory tests to people in Edwards and Eagle on Tuesday.
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EDWARDS – A great score on a simple test was the highlight of Patti’s day.Patti – a middle-aged Edwards woman who didn’t want to give her last name – had started to worry about her brain. She’d started to have trouble remembering names or putting faces to names.”When I see people out of common areas – like seeing people who work somewhere else – that throws me too,” she said. Adding to her own worries was the fact that her mother had died after a long bout with Alzheimer’s Disease. Her mother’s sister has recently been diagnosed with the brain-destroying sickness, too.When Patti heard she could have her memory tested for free, she made the time to go. National Memory Testing Day was Tuesday, and the Eagle County Department of Health and Human Services took part.

“I thought I’d see what it was all about,” Patti said. “I have to tell you, though, when I started, my heart was pounding. I didn’t know what to expect.”Patti’s perfect score came as a relief.”It’s really taken a load off my mind,” she said.Ernie Brown, 80, came to the testing session at his daughter’s urging.”Maybe she’s a little concerned,” Brown said. “And I don’t remember things as well as I should. Now, something that happened 50 years ago, it’s like yesterday.”So Brown spent a few minutes with Doreen Constantine, coming out with a not-quite-perfect score.”That feels pretty good,” Brown said.

The people who came to Edwards on that late afternoon passed their tests with flying colors. But what about the folks who don’t do as well?”This isn’t supposed to be a diagnostic test,” Constantine said. But, the tests she gave all come with scoring guidelines. Anyone taking the test who doesn’t hit those guidelines was told to see their doctor.The tests gave those who took them a kind of mental baseline for the future, test-giver Pat Nolan said.”They can keep the scores in their own health files and use that in the future,” Nolan said.The turnout for testing was OK, if not overwhelming, Constantine said, with a few more that 50 people turning out at three testing sessions across the county.The tests were given in conjunction with Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, so besides the tests, there were handouts available on keeping aging minds creative.And for younger folks like Patti, the page of test results might come in handy at home.”The next time my husband tells me he’s already told me something, I can wave my test score at him,” she said.



Learn more about the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America at http://www.alzfdn.orgStaff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 748-2930, or smiller@vaildaily.com.Vail Daily, Vail Colorado CO


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