‘You’ve got to try to catch them at the front end;” UK launches program to educate Kentuckians on memory loss prevention

The University of Kentucky kicked off a new program aimed at identifying risk factors for dementia early on, particularly in underserved communities.
Published: Jun. 11, 2022 at 1:11 PM EDT
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FRANKLIN Co., Ky. (WKYT) - The University of Kentucky kicked off a new program aimed at identifying risk factors for dementia early on, particularly in underserved communities.

The Sanders-Brown Center on Aging brought the “Health Brain Aging Across the Bluegrass” program to a fair in Frankfort Saturday.

The center partnered with First Baptist Church Frankfort to give screenings at “Unity in the Community” that would help identify any issues and prevent memory loss.

“50% of people who may be in the church might be seniors, so we want to make sure that we’re partnering with the church to maximize the resources and the outreach,” said UK College of Medicine Assistant Professor Dr. Elizabeth Rhodus.

As a substantial portion Kentucky’s population gets older, she wants to empower them to look out for their health, and know the risk factors of memory loss.

“We are getting closer and closer to these different studies that are getting FDA approval to help with these diseases early on...what can we do today?,” she said.

People who came to the fair completed physical, emotional and memory screenings.

“We don’t just look at the physical, we don’t just look at the mental, we don’t just look at the spiritual, we look at the whole being, and then we try to make a difference,” said Pastor Rosby Glover.

Dr. Rhodus said identifying risk factors like diabetes, obesity and tobacco use early on is key. Those factors disproportionately impact African Americans.

“One thing is education and awareness, and that’s what lacking many times, particularly in the Black community,” Pastor Glover said. “Resources are definitely needed, but you’ve got to try to catch them at the front end and educate them about the Dementia, Alzheimer’s, about what to expect.”

According to UK, Mercer and Franklin County are in the top 25 counties in the country with the highest prevalence of African Americans with Alzheimer’s Disease or related dementias.

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