Senior moments, or dementia?

In its role as community builder, the twice-yearly Community Health Series at The Greens at Cannondale invites first-rate physicians and heads of hospital departments to present the most current information concerning physical and mental health. The Fall 2013 series continued that tradition last week with the topic “Is It time to Worry — Senior Moments or Dementia?” presented by geriatric psychiatrist Dr. Alan Siegal.

As a physician who deals with these questions every day, Dr. Siegal was able to turn a serious and potentially frightening subject into a reassuring experience.

“If you’re here, you’re OK,” he said. “Forgetting names, losing keys happens to everyone. But if the man who replaces lost keys at Home Depot sees you so much that he knows your name, well, that’s different.”

Dr. Siegal said cognitive abilities peak at age 28. From then on it’s downhill.

“But to grow old is to grow forgetful, not senile. Most patients who come to my office worried about their memory loss and lack of focus are actually depressed. Depression is like an attention deficit disorder.  Forgetfulness can be the result of simply not paying attention.

“When adult children, usually daughters, say they’re worried about your memory, get them off your back! It’s a kind of payback — you worried about them, now they’re worrying about you. But to prevent things from snowballing, get a cognitive test.”

Dr. Siegal gives these tests, which are free, painless and not invasive or difficult. “Tell your children, ‘If it will make you happy, I’ll take the test.’”

Offering these free tests is one of the many useful ways The Greens reaches out to the community to respond, educate, and improve  people’s lives. Call The Greens to find out more about the memory screening assessment and schedule an appointment.

The Health Series continues on Wednesday, Nov. 6, with the topic “Navigating Social Security.” On Nov. 20, “Moving with Ease — The Emotional and Physical Aspects of Relocation” — will be presented. For Nov. 6 and 20, dinner is at 5:30, with the presentation at 6.

RSVP for each event to 203-761-1191.