Hattiesburg Clinic offers free memory testing

Hattiesburg Clinic offers free memory testing
Hattiesburg Clinic Memory Center wants to help you separate common forgetfulness from early signs of memory impairment or dementia all for free, with a simple test. (Photo source: WDAM)

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Have you ever walked into a room and couldn't remember what you needed, or couldn't remember where you put something? At a certain age, we have to ask ourselves: Is our foggy memory a sign of getting older, or something more frightening?

Hattiesburg Clinic Memory Center wants to help you separate common forgetfulness from early signs of memory impairment or dementia with a simple, free test.

The test starts with Hattiesburg Clinic's Memory Center Psychometrist Julia Starrett. As a Psychometrist for eight years, she tests your memory and keeps score.

"It's your memory, your language skills, your attention," Starrett said. "So it's not just memory, but kind of overall cognitive function."

Starrett did a mock test, called Moca, at the memory center with a volunteer. With one paper, a few questions and 20 minutes, she can screen anyone 45 years old and older for memory impairment or dementia.

"You do like a word recall list, so I would read a list of words and then they have to repeat them," Starrett said. "Repeating sentences, drawing different figures, drawing a clock face. So, all of those different tasks make a bigger picture."

Starrett said it creates a picture that can serve as a guide for someone who has a family history of Alzheimer's or dementia and worry they could have it too.

"So, they may be in their 50s or 60s and they don't think they really have any problems, but just coming in to get a baseline," Starrett said.

A measure you can take all for free on May 17.

"We give everybody their scores so they can take them to their family physician," Starrett added.

Starrett said this isn't a diagnosis, it's a check that can let you and your doctor know you may just be a little forgetful, or it can serve as a red flag.

The free memory screening is May 17 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hattiesburg Clinic Memory Center, located on the sixth floor of the main clinic at 415 South 28th Avenue in Hattiesburg. You have to be 45 years old or older.

Starrett said the memory screenings are very successful and the appointments fill up fast, so call 601-268-5620 for your spot. Also, if you miss it this time, the screenings are offered for free six times a year. The next one is in July.