Alzheimer's Report Highlights Screening, Disease Detection Disconnect

Mar 5, 2019

More than 100,000 Hoosiers live with Alzheimer’s disease and that number is expected to rise 18 percent by 2025.

A new report on the disease highlights the need for better detection.

Only 16 percent of seniors receive a cognitive assessment during a routine checkup, according to the 2019 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report. The analysis highlights the disconnect between patients and doctors about initiating an evaluation. 

Maria Holmes, a care consultant with the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter, says stigma is still a factor.

"But if people don’t raise their concerns they are going to miss an opportunity and they’re going to be much more likely to find themselves in a crisis if they don’t sort of step up and have that conversation with a doctor," says Holmes. 

Less than half of providers say they screen for cognitive impairment in patients over 65. Holmes says early detection is crucial.

"It’s also about encouraging physicians to make a diagnosis or at least screen for them and then send people onto specialists but also refer to us," says Holmes. 

Early detection can help patients and caregivers plan, make financial arrangements and possibly join clinical trials.