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Police officers trained in 'dementia friendly' programs

New training offers insight into best practices for helping those with dementia

Every 66 seconds someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer's. As our population ages it's important police and other first responders understand effective ways to communicate with those suffering from dementia.

Blountsville's Police Department recently became designated as a "Dementia Friendly Department." Officers and others in the community took part in special training. The training is put on by M4A which is a group that specializes in helping the elderly.

To learn more:

http://www.m4a.org/

Residents of Blount, Chilton, Shelby, St. Clair and Walker counties can get a free emergency folder to be kept on their refrigerator. In case of an emergency, it gives first responders contact information, health conditions and a list of medications.

To learn more:

http://www.m4a.org/project-life-connect/

Alzheimer's of Central Alabama provide this information:

• Of the approximately 90,000 Alabamians with Alzheimer’s and dementia, 13,000 live alone.

• The biggest dangers for community dwelling patients: guns, cars, telemarketers, managing their medication and/or finances without supervision.

• The most dangerous dementia behavior is wandering. 60% of patients will wander and those who do tend to wander repeatedly. It takes an average of 9 hours for law enforcement to locate a missing patient versus 15 – 30 minutes to locate a patient wearing a Project Lifesaver bracelet. Every patient wearing a bracelet who has wandered in Alabama has been successfully found.

• Best strategy for communicating is to redirect. Never rationalize or reason.

• The average length of time from diagnosis to death is 8 – 10 years. Half of all caregivers stress over finances. 40% of caregivers suffer from depression. 75% of caregivers worry about their own health.

• Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama is a local organization that serves 21 counties across central Alabama. We provide services that help families take care and manage their loved one at home.

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