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Program teaches first responders how to approach those with dementia

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Posted at 10:11 AM, Nov 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-20 12:13:09-05

HELENA — The Alzheimer’s Association works closely with caregivers, and family members, by providing programs and resources such as support and a 24/7 helpline where a trained professional can assist with emotional support and even crisis care.

One program that is available is called Approaching Alzheimer’s that trains first responders to de-escalate situations involving dementia patients., whether it is wandering to abuse and neglect.

Melanie Williams with the Alzheimer’s Association says having law enforcement officers trained independently on how to help dementia patients in a safe way is vital to not traumatize the person with the disease.

“Really focusing on how can we de-escalate those situations that they're not so traumatic for the person living with it. They seem to have their emotional IQ, as I call it, isn't as developed as it used to be and so handling strange and different situations is definitely more difficult for them as they progress in the disease,” said Williams.

The training walks through simple talking tactics, such as talking slow and keeping eye contact, in a simple acronym TALK, it gives law enforcement the ability to help the person struggling with Alzheimer’s in stressful situations, and speak to them in a way that is calming, and that will prevent aggression.

Law enforcement is encouraged to participate in the course to identify people with dementia and make the job easier for everyone involved.

If you are a first responder, click here to learn more and sign up for free training.