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Why are screening and early
detection so important?

After an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis, people typically live an average of 4-8 more years. However, it can be much longer. An early diagnosis gives you more time to plan, which can improve your quality of life and contribute to a more positive health outcome.

Getting a diagnosis is not something to avoid. A diagnosis opens doors to legal rights and healthcare benefits and allows you to make decisions while you still have agency. Most Californians can now get initial dementia screenings from their primary care provider. If a primary care healthcare provider suspects the possibility of Alzheimer’s disease, they may refer a patient to a specialist who can provide a detailed diagnosis or further assessment.

What does it mean to receive an Alzheimer’s screening?

Screening is a conversation with your healthcare provider who can evaluate your overall health and identify any conditions that could affect how well your mind is working.

During an Alzheimer’s screening, your healthcare provider will ask you questions about your memory, personality and routine, including if you have noticed any changes and how those changes have been happening. This can include questions like, “Have you struggled to remember words or names you use in conversation often?” or, “Have you lost your sense of direction anywhere that should be a familiar place?”

They can help you determine if your experience is a normal sign of aging or might warrant a conversation with a specialist. Your healthcare provider will make a recommendation based on this conversation to either refer you to a specialist or not.

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Support a Healthy Brain

Find out how you can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s by exercising, lowering blood pressure, eating healthy, and more.

More about Reducing Risk

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Formal Diagnosis

Meet with a specialist for a formal diagnosis.

More About a Formal Diagnosis

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Planning for the Future

Make a plan for your future

More About Planning for the Future

*Alzheimer’s Facts and Figures in California, CDPH (2021)