News Release

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Easy-to-Read Booklets on Alzheimer’s Disease, Memory Loss Offered by NIA

The National Institute on Aging (NIA), a component of the National Institutes of Health, now offers two free booklets designed to help people with limited literacy skills learn about Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and memory loss. In these easy-to-read booklets, the medical and technical language has been replaced by plain language, stories, photographs, and other features to help readers understand the content.

“Our goal was to produce strong, clear materials to make information about AD and memory loss accessible to everyone, including those with limited literacy skills,” says Richard J. Hodes, M.D., director of the NIA. “These booklets also are excellent starting points for anyone who needs basic information about AD and memory problems, regardless of reading capability.” They are valuable additions to the comprehensive collection of health education materials available from NIA’s Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center, adds Hodes.

In addition to local field testing, education experts at NIA-funded Alzheimer’s Disease Centers arranged a series of interviews with caregivers and people with AD to gather feedback about the booklets. “We carefully tested each booklet for overall appeal, format, graphic elements, comprehension, cultural appropriateness, and “self-efficacy” (a measure of understanding the importance of taking action if signs of AD or serious memory loss are seen), says Patricia D. Lynch, M.S., project officer of the ADEAR Center. “The testing yielded excellent feedback that we used to refine the booklets,” explains Wendy Mettger, M.A., the plain language expert who developed the booklets.

Understanding Memory Loss covers topics such as:

  • differences between mild forgetfulness and serious memory problems
  • causes of memory problems and how they can be treated
  • what a person should do when worried about memory
  • how family members can help

Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease includes:

  • signs of AD
  • the importance of seeing a doctor early
  • treatment for AD
  • help for caregivers

To order copies or for more information about these booklets, visit the ADEAR Center Web site at, or call 1-800-438-4380. Bulk orders are welcome.

The ADEAR Center provides information to the public and health professionals about AD and age-related cognitive change and offers a variety of publications, as well as information about clinical trials. The NIA is the lead federal agency conducting and supporting basic, biomedical, and behavioral and social research on aging and the special needs and problems of older people.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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