LincolnHealth will offer free cognitive screenings Nov. 1

Posted:  Thursday, October 12, 2017 - 7:00am

For the third straight year, LincolnHealth will offer free, confidential cognitive screenings to help people determine if they may be experiencing cognitive changes outside of those normally associated with aging.

“Many people in our community and throughout the country have undiagnosed brain injuries,” said LincolnHealth Occupational Therapist Megan McCartney. “We are hoping to help diagnose those issues and help people address changes in a way that improves their quality of life.”

The free cognitive screenings will take place on the LincolnHealth - Miles Campus in Damariscotta and on the St. Andrews Campus in Boothbay Harbor on Wednesday, Nov. 1 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. All ages are encouraged to participate. Please call 563-4518 for more information.

The screenings are done in a private room and take about 10 minutes to complete. Participants leave with a single page of results which they are encouraged to discuss with their primary care provider. The results can also be used as a baseline for future cognitive screenings and tests.

“The vast majority of participants are relieved when they get their results,” said McCartney. “Friends or family members may tell them that they are ‘slipping’ or they may be frustrated with themselves for forgetting things. The results can show participants that these changes are normal, or what to do next if their cognitive function is declining.”

Out of the more than 50 people who took part last year, only two showed symptoms of Alzheimer’s or other types of non-reversible dementia. Some had problems processing visual information and some showed signs of cognitive decline often associated with a lack of stimulation. Both of these can be improved with therapy.

“The more new information you can give your brain, the better you will be,” said McCartney. “By being in the community and interacting with others, you get introduced to new things which stimulates your brain.”

“Sometimes people don’t know that they have a brain issue until they receive therapy and can see the improvement,” said Occupational Therapist Susan Hilton.

When a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia that is not reversible, therapists can help the individual and their family develop strategies to cope with the disease and maintain quality of life for as long as possible.

For more information about the free cognitive screenings, please call LincolnHealth - Miles Campus Wellness and Rehabilitation at 563-4518 or the St. Andrews Campus Wellness and Rehabilitation at 633-1928.