In the year 2011 began the senior population explosion and the number one diagnosis among the elderly is dementia. As there are over 60 kinds of dementia, First Responders must be prepared to handle the challenges facing their citizens with dementia. Law enforcement and First Responders agencies across the country will see an increase in calls concerning elopement, abuse, and neglect in the private homes. In order to be prepared for the challenges, all Law Enforcement should have comprehensive training in Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease.
In Florida, the law requires that law enforcement officers complete training, including training on the identification of and appropriate responses for persons suffering from dementia, and on identifying and investigating elder abuse and neglect. Dementia Family Pathways has an Initiative for more emphasis on Dementia Care Excellence in Law Enforcement and First Responder mandatory training People living with dementia are often misdiagnosed on the street and wrongly "Baker Acted." When the mandatory training of First Responders and Law Officers include qualities of Dementia Care Excellence, Officers and EMS will be better equipped for that next interaction with a person living with dementia and be ready to use strategies that improve communication and maintain dignity.
Dementia Care Excellence
Principles of Dementia Care Excellence in Caregiver Education include:
education that abnormal brain changes are occurring, “how the brain is affected” by dementia and how brain changes affect behaviors;
an understanding that the person living with brain changes is doing the best he / she can while brain changes occur;
“relationship first” philosophy whereby the Provider understands their role as "communicator" and how to set the stage for communication using the Positive Physical Approach;
"person-centered focus" for the Provider with characteristics of each level of dementia, strategies to use and strategies to avoid at each level;
in-person experiences and direct instruction with follow-up live Coach Training;
demonstration and Skill Building for techniques such as "hand-under-hand" that: decrease risk for falls, dehydration, isolation, malnutrition.