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Police To Be Trained To Deal With Alzheimer Patients

Last updated on Sunday, June 2, 2013

(UNDATED) - Alzheimer’s and dementia patient advocates say new legislation will help ensure law enforcement know how to deal with that growing segment of the population.

IPBS reports, legislation unanimously approved by the General Assembly was developed largely in response to an incident in Peru, Indiana in which police used a taser several times on an elderly Alzheimer's patient after he became aggressive.

Alzheimer's Association Greater Indiana Chapter Public Policy Director Michael Sullivan says those situations can often happen because police are not taught to recognize and properly deal with Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

Sullivan says the training is vital because the diseases can manifest in different ways with some becoming agitated and aggressive while others become passive.

Alzheimer's Association Senior Specialist Dustin Ziegler says communication is one of the most important aspects for officers dealing with Alzheimer's and dementia patients because he says those suffering from the diseases are not experiencing the same world as everyone else.

Ziegler adds patience is key, stressing that officers need to speak slowly and constantly reassure the patient that the officer is there to help.

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