It seems incredible – a pleasant, at times confused grandma getting handcuffed and put under arrest. But nevertheless, that very scene is occurring at a frightening rate among the elderly, over 100,000 of them, according to the latest statistics – an increase of just about 30% in the past decade. This dramatic rise in arrests of the elderly might be partly due to the growth in the population of the elderly, including the rise in diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.
With the anxiety and aggression that can go along with dementia, in addition to other irregular behaviors that might 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 need for appropriate police responses to dementia-induced actions. In essence, this requires finding out the answer to, “Is there a medical reason behind engaging in what’s generally regarded as criminal behavior?”
And besides criminal worries, some other situations involving seniors are more frequently calling for law enforcement to step in, like individuals with Alzheimer’s wandering off and getting lost, or being called upon to check on senior citizens at the request of worried family relations, neighbors, friends, or medical personnel.
Fortunately, the San Francisco Police Department has taken steps to make sure its law enforcement team is skilled in appropriate intervention methods, as well as provided with helpful information on beneficial services and local resources to support older adults, including those with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. With other law enforcement departments in the United States expressing interest in implementing comparable programs, the hope is that increased empathy and knowledge of dementia will help all of us better assist those in need of professional care to live more full, rewarding and undisruptive lives.
For professional Alzheimer’s and dementia care recommendations, and resources, contact CareWorks Health Services. Our fully qualified and knowledgeable professional dementia care team provides patient, reliable care that creates comfort for family caregivers by keeping their loved ones safe at home, helping them engage in mentally stimulating activities and physical exercise as appropriate, and taking care of daily activities that require support. Beginning with the creation of a customized care plan, that plan is then carried out and modified ongoing as needs change. Providing skilled, compassionate Orange County, CA home care services, we invite you to call us any time at (949) 859-4700 to learn more.