It is improbable – a nice, elderly, sometimes confused grandma with dementia being handcuffed and placed under arrest. Even so, that very scene is happening at an astonishing rate among the elderly, over 100,000 of them, based on the latest stats – an increase of almost 30% in the past decade. This dramatic increase in arrests among the elderly could be partially due to the explosion of growth in the population of older adults, in addition to the increase in medical diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.
Together with the agitation and aggression that can go along with Alzheimer’s, and various other irregular behaviors that might amount to the need for police intervention among the general public, one particular solution lies in education. Dr. Brie Williams, geriatrician and director of the University of California, San Francisco’s Criminal Justice Aging Project, emphasizes the need for appropriate law enforcement responses to dementia-induced actions. In short, this calls for identifying the answer to, “Is there a medical reason behind engaging in what’s traditionally seen as criminal behavior?”
And besides criminal worries, other situations involving seniors are more frequently calling for law enforcement to step in, such as individuals with dementia wandering away and getting lost, or being called upon to check on senior citizens at the request of worried relatives, neighbors, friends, or medical personnel.
Fortunately, the San Francisco Police Department has taken steps to make certain its law enforcement team is educated in proper intervention practices, as well as supplied with resources for beneficial services and local resources to assist seniors, including those with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. With other law enforcement departments across the country expressing interest in creating comparable programs, the hope is that increased empathy and understanding of dementia will help us all better assist those who are in desperate need of specialized care to live more full, rewarding and undisruptive lives.
For specialized Alzheimer’s and dementia caregiving, tips, and resources, contact North River Home Care. Our fully trained and knowledgeable professional dementia care team provides patient, reliable care that creates comfort for family caregivers, keeping their family members safe at home, helping them partake in mentally stimulating activities and physical activity as appropriate, and tending to daily tasks that require assistance. Beginning with the creation of a customized care plan, that plan is then executed and adjusted ongoing as needs change. Serving throughout eastern Massachusetts, call us at (781) 659-1366 to learn more.