Unlocking the puzzle of memory loss

As we get older, it’s normal to experience some degree of memory loss. However, sometimes forgetfulness can indicate the presence of something more serious. How do you know if it’s age-related memory loss — or if it’s dementia or Alzheimer’s disease?

What is dementia?

Dementia is not a specific disease. The term describes a group of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person's ability to perform everyday activities. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of cases and it’s the country’s sixth-leading cause of death. An estimated 5.7 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer's disease – more than 77,000 in Connecticut alone.

What are the early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's?

  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  • Challenges in planning or solving problems
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure
  • Confusion with time or place
  • Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
  • New problems with words in speaking or writing
  • Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
  • Decreased or poor judgment
  • Withdrawal from work or social activities
  • Changes in mood and personality

If you notice any of these warning signs in yourself or someone you know, don't ignore them. Schedule an appointment with your doctor. Yale New Haven Hospital is a pioneer in the assessment of those with declining self-care skills and offers a wide range of services for older adults coping with Alzheimer's or dementia.

The hospital also offers one of the oldest and most comprehensive geriatric assessment programs in the United States. The Dorothy Adler Geriatric Assessment Center evaluates patients with age-related problems that affect daily living. The multidisciplinary staff includes geriatric physicians, case managers and ambulatory care associates who work with Alzheimer's disease and dementia patients and their families to provide optimal care and coordinated resources. For additional information, call 203-688-6361.

Join us for “The Basics: Memory Loss, Dementia and Alzheimer’s” on Thursday, July 11 from 7 - 8 pm. Find out what medical researchers are doing to combat this neurological puzzle. Learn the difference between age-related memory loss and more serious changes that may indicate the need for treatment. The free presentation will be held at Old Saybrook Medical Center, 633 Middlesex Turnpike, Old Saybrook. Register online for this presentation or call 888-700-6543.

Sun’s out: Time for a skin check

Think you’re doing enough to protect your skin from the sun? Don’t be so sure. Many people assume their sun protection routine is sufficient when it’s not. And just one sunburn during your youth doubles your chances of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Early diagnosis is key to improving survival rates.

Get out of the sun on Saturday, July 20, and take advantage of a free skin cancer screening from 9 am - 1 pm at Yale Physician Building, 800 Howard Ave., New Haven. Walk right in. No appointments necessary, thanks to sponsorship by the Smilow Screening and Prevention Program.

Smilow Cancer Hospital in conjunction with Yale Cancer Center will also host a free skin cancer screening on Thursday, July 25 from 5 - 7 pm at Park Avenue Medical Center, 5520 Park Avenue, Trumbull. The screening will be held in the Smilow Surgical Specialty Center on Level 1. To make an appointment for the July 25 screening, call 888-357-2396.

For patients with melanoma and their caregivers, consider attending a monthly group for information and support. The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 16 from 5:30 – 7 pm at Smilow Cancer Hospital, North Pavilion 4101-B, 35 Park St., New Haven. Parking is available in the Air Rights Garage. Register online for the melanoma support group or call 888-700-6543.

The Melanoma Program at Smilow Cancer Hospital has a team of experts from diverse fields that provides patients with new and state-of-the-art treatments. Learn more about services, treatments, cutting-edge research and clinical trials.

Learn more about the different types of skin cancer and how you can avoid sun damage and lower your risk of skin cancer.

Help us get closer to free

The 9th annual Closer to Free Ride will roll off the starting line on Sept. 7. Every dollar raised directly supports patient care and advanced research at Smilow Cancer Hospital and Yale Cancer Center. Each rider commits to raising at least $500 (or $250 for students and youth) — but don’t worry, we give you lots of help.

Closer to Free offers cyclists of all abilities the opportunity to participate. Riders choose from among five routes: 100, 65, 40, 25 and 10 miles. All routes start and end at the Yale Bowl. Ride Day begins with an Opening Ceremony at 6:45 am with the Ride starting at 7 am. Friends, family members and supporters are encouraged to gather at the Yale Bowl for the Finish Line Festival following the Ride. The festival is open to all and includes live music, a complimentary post-Ride massage, a beer garden (must be 21 or older), Food Truck Village (complimentary tickets for all riders and volunteers), children’s activities, and more.

Register and get additional ride information on the Closer to Free website. To make a donation, download a Closer to Free donation form.

Not a cyclist? Consider one of our many volunteer opportunities. Put your energy and enthusiasm into making the Closer to Free Ride a success.

Free courtyard concerts celebrate summer

The Yale New Haven Hospital Auxiliary will sponsor “Notes at Noon,” a summer music concert series, on the following Fridays from noon - 1 pm:

  • July 12: The Guerra/Morrow Duo, master jazz guitarists
  • July 19: Thabisa, sophisticated blend of African soul, jazz and original music
  • July 26: 102nd Army National Guard Band
  • Aug. 2: Sambeleza, Brazilian bossa nova Jazz
  • Aug. 16: Todd Lewis Kramer, Americana, folk singer, songwriter and guitarist

The concerts will be held in Hunter Courtyard, located at the corner of York and Cedar Streets in New Haven (weather permitting). Attendance is free. For details, contact the YNHH Auxiliary at 203-688-5717 or auxiliary@ynhh.org.

Hit the trail with YNHH doctors

Walk and chat with local doctors as part of Yale New Haven Health’s Get Healthy Walk ‘N Talk with a Doc. Walks are each Saturday in July from 9 - 10:30 am at the Farmington Canal Greenway Trail in New Haven. Walks begin at the entrance on the corner of Shelton Avenue and Starr Street and last approximately one hour. Parking is available at New Freedom Missionary Baptist Church, 280 Starr St., New Haven Please arrive by 8:45 am on each walk day. For more information, email Andy Orefice or call 203-688-5671. To learn more about Get Healthy CT, a coalition dedicated to promoting healthy lifestyles by removing the barriers to healthy eating and physical activity, visit the Get Healthy CT website.

Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital earns national recognition

Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital has been ranked among the best in the nation for nine of its pediatric subspecialties in the “American’s Children’s Hospitals” rankings, published online by U.S. News & World Report. YNHCH ranked in cancer; cardiology and heart surgery; diabetes and endocrinology; gastroenterology; neonatology; nephrology; neurology and neurosurgery; pulmonology; and urology.

YNHCH continues to expand its specialty services across the region through its network of seven Pediatric Specialty Centers in the state, providing children and families with access to exceptional medical, surgical, and behavioral expertise.

Referrals for physicians and surgeons

YNHH provides free information about and referrals to more than 2,600 affiliated physicians 24 hours a day. Call 888-700-6543 or visit our Find a Doctor feature on the hospital website for information on physician specialties, office hours and locations as well as insurance plans accepted. YNHH physicians represent more than 70 medical and surgical specialties and subspecialties, including internal medicine/family practice, obstetrics/gynecology, orthopedics, pediatrics and psychiatry.

Need blood work? We’re in your neighborhood

When your physician orders blood work or you need to schedule a blood test, Yale New Haven Health makes it easy with blood draw stations conveniently located in your community. No appointment is necessary and all major insurance plans are accepted.

Please note: A requisition form is required. Our blood draw stations honor requisitions from other labs.

Find a location that's convenient on this list of blood draw locations on our website.

MyChart: Your medical and health information in one place

There is a lot of talk about electronic medical records – and why you should be able to see them. Put away the paper files because Yale New Haven Health patients can see portions of their EMR online. It’s called MyChart. Your medical information is safe, secure and available 24/7. MyChart includes your medical history, most laboratory and test results, appointment information, medications, allergies, immunizations and other health information.

With MyChart you can schedule appointments with your doctor, request or renew prescriptions, see your billing and insurance information and send and receive secure, confidential email messages with your doctor’s office. Ask your healthcare provider for a MyChart brochure or your MyChart Activation Code, and then go to the MyChart website and select “Sign Up Now.”

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Make a lasting impact at YNHH

Help support the mission of Yale New Haven Hospital with a donation! Your contributions support vital programs, services and facilities within the hospital and help keep Yale New Haven at the forefront of innovative treatment. When you make a gift to YNHH, you are part of the advanced medicine and compassionate commitment that touch so many lives in our community.

Billing questions?

Yale New Haven Hospital offers financial counseling to patients and families. Spanish-speaking counselors are available. Additionally, evening sessions are scheduled once a month — the next two are Monday, July 15 and Monday, Aug. 19 from 5 - 7 pm. To make an appointment with a financial counselor, call 203-688-2046.