It is shocking – a kind, occasionally puzzled grandmother with dementia getting handcuffed and put under arrest. Even so, that very scene is playing out at an astonishing rate among the elderly, around 100,000 of them, based on the current statistics – an increase of just about 30% in the past decade. This significant increase in arrests of the elderly could be partly because of the explosion of growth in the population of older adults, as well as the rise in diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.
Along with the agitation and aggression that comprise the top dementia symptoms, along with other unpredictable behaviors that could constitute the need for police intervention among the general public, one solution lies in education. Dr. Brie Williams, geriatrician and director of the University of California, San Francisco’s Criminal Justice Aging Project, emphasizes the necessity for appropriate law enforcement responses to dementia-induced actions. In short, this calls for identifying the answer to, “Is there a medical explanation for engaging in what’s commonly considered criminal behavior?”
And besides criminal concerns, other situations concerning seniors are more frequently requiring the police to step in, like those with dementia wandering away and becoming lost, or being called upon to check up on senior citizens at the request of worried family members, neighbors, friends, or medical personnel.
Fortunately, the San Francisco Police Department has taken steps to ensure its law enforcement team is coached in proper intervention methods, as well as provided with resources for beneficial services and local resources to help older adults, including those with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. With some other law enforcement departments nationwide expressing interest in implementing comparable programs, the hope is that additional empathy and understanding of dementia will help people better assist individuals in desperate need of professional care to live more full, rewarding and undisruptive lives.
For professional Atlanta dementia care advice and resources, contact Atlanta Home Care Partners. Our fully qualified and experienced professional dementia care team provides patient, reliable care that offers comfort to family caregivers, keeping their loved ones safe at home, helping them engage in mentally stimulating activities and physical activity as appropriate, and taking care of daily activities that require help. Starting with the creation of a customized care plan, that plan is then executed and modified ongoing as needs change. Serving the Atlanta metro area, call us at 404.228.0103 to learn more about our Alzheimer’s care services.