In a recent edition of this newspaper, we had a story about free memory screenings being offered at the senior citizen centers in the county.

In a recent edition of this newspaper, we had a story about free memory screenings being offered at the senior citizen centers in the county.

This is a very important issue and anyone who thinks they might need to be checked out should make a point to get that done.

Alzheimer's disease and dementia are serious matters which inflict a large number of people in this country.

But progress had been made and there are medications and changes in lifestyles which can delay people from going into the later stages of the disease.

According to the national Alzheimer's Association, here are the top 10 warning signs of Alzheimer's:

• Memory loss that disrupts daily life

• Challenges in planning or solving problems

• Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure

• Confusion with time or place

• Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships

• New problems with words or speaking or writing

• Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps

• Decreased or poor judgment

• Withdrawal from work or social activities

• Changes in mood and personality

If you have experienced any of these signs, now is the time to take advantage of free memory screening.

One of the best steps anyone can take is making sure they are diagnosed properly.

Almost everyone has had a relative or friend who has suffered from Alzheimer's. It's a terrible disease, not just for the patient but for the loved ones who can do little but watch.

Currently, there are more than five million Americas who are living with the disease. Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

One in three senior citizens dies with Alzheimer's or another dementia.

Another factor sometimes forgotten has to do with caregivers and the time it takes to help people with Alzheimer's.

That same organization reports that more than 17.5 billion hours of unpaid care was provided to patients in 2012.

The caregivers are real heroes but it takes a toll on them, as well.

For many family members, work and family obligations make it difficult to provide the proper care. People cannot just change their lives because they have to be employed. It is a very tough situation.

In Pennsylvania, it is estimated that in 2012, there were 667,000 caregivers who provided some 760 billion hours of unpaid care. Around 280,000 Pennsylvania residents over the age of 65 suffer from Alzheimer's.

All of this adds up to a lot of time and money — yet people are still suffering.

It cannot be stressed enough how important it is for people to be screened for memory loss. This is a key test in finding out the truth.

Some people think nothing can be done, but that is simply not the case. Early diagnoses, like with all diseases, is critical.

We urge everyone to take advantage of these free screenings being generously offered by the Wayne County Area on Aging.

Here's a reminder about the screenings:

Sign up is required. Call 570-253-4262 to schedule your time slot.

Time slots will be 20 minutes from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the following locations:

• Wednesday, June 12, Honesdale Senior Center

• Thursday, June 27, Hamlin Senior Center

• Tuesday, July 23, Hawley Senior Center

• Thursday, Aug. 1, Northern Wayne Fire Company