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The Dangers of Alzheimer’s: When Those with Dementia Break the Law

Dangers of Alzheimer'sIt seems improbable – a pleasant, sometimes disoriented grandmother with Alzheimer’s disease being handcuffed and placed under arrest. Nevertheless that very scene is happening at an alarming rate among seniors, over 100,000 of them, according to the current stats – an increase of just about 30% in the past decade. This significant rise in arrests of the elderly may be partly because of the growth in the population of older adults, including the rise in diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.

With the agitation and aggression that can accompany Alzheimer’s, in addition to other erratic behaviors that would constitute 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, stresses the need for more appropriate law enforcement responses to dementia-induced actions. In short, this involves figuring out the answer to, “Is there a medical explanation for engaging in what’s normally seen as criminal behavior?”

And in addition to criminal worries, other situations involving the elderly are more frequently requiring law enforcement to step in, such as people with Alzheimer’s wandering away and getting lost, or being asked to check on the elderly 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 appropriate intervention techniques, and given resources for beneficial services and local resources to support older adults and lessen the dangers of Alzheimer’s. With some other police departments in the United States expressing interest in creating equivalent programs, the hope is that additional empathy and understanding of dementia will help us all better support people in desperate need of specialized care to live more full, productive and undisruptive lives.

For professional Alzheimer’s and dementia caregiving, advice and resources, contact Independence-4-Seniors Home Care. Our fully qualified and knowledgeable professional Hinsdale home care team provides patient, reliable care that brings comfort to family caregivers, keeping their loved ones safe at home, helping them participate in mentally stimulating activities and physical activity as appropriate, and taking care of daily tasks that require help and support. Beginning with the creation of a customized care plan, that plan is then executed and modified ongoing as needs change. Call us at (630) 323-4665 to learn more.

Posted September 08, 2017
Tags: Alzheimer's - Dementia, Family Caregiving

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  • ASSP Dupage
  • Chamber of COmmerce
  • CSA Society
  • Hinsdale Chamber of Commerce