It seems astounding – a sweet, occasionally puzzled grandpa with Alzheimer’s disease being handcuffed and put under arrest. However, that very scene is happening at an astonishing rate among seniors, over 100,000 of them, based on the current data – an increase of nearly 30% in the past decade. This dramatic increase in arrests among the elderly could be in part due to the growth in the population of the elderly, as well as the increase in medical diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.
Along with the agitation and aggression that can come with Alzheimer’s, together with other unpredictable behaviors that might constitute the need for police intervention among the public, one solution lies in education. Dr. Brie Williams, geriatrician and director of the University of California, San Francisco’s Criminal Justice Aging Project, stresses the necessity for more effective law enforcement responses to dementia-induced actions. In essence, this involves identifying the answer to, “Is there a medical reason for engaging in what’s commonly thought of as criminal behavior?”
And besides criminal concerns, other situations concerning older adults are more frequently calling for the police to step in, like those with dementia wandering away and becoming lost, or being called upon to check on senior citizens at the request of concerned family relations, neighbors, friends, or medical personnel.
Thankfully, the San Francisco Police Department has taken measures to ensure its law enforcement team is coached in proper intervention techniques, as well as supplied with resources for beneficial services and local resources to help seniors, including those with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. With other police departments in the United States expressing interest in implementing equivalent programs, the hope is that greater empathy and knowledge of dementia will help people better assist individuals in desperate need of professional care to live more full, rewarding and undisruptive lives.
For specialized Alzheimer’s and dementia caregiving, advice and resources, contact Sheila’s Angels In Home Care. Our fully qualified and knowledgeable professional dementia care team offers patient, consistent care that provides comfort to family caregivers, keeping their family members safe at home, helping them participate in mentally stimulating activities and exercise as appropriate, and taking care of daily tasks that require help. Beginning with the creation of a customized care plan, that plan is then carried out and modified ongoing as needs change. Serving Houston, TX, call us at (281) 661-8808 to learn more.