Alzheimer's: A Basic Understanding

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Course Author(s)

Sgt. Tim Sutton

Course Summary

The law enforcement profession is ever evolving. Whether it is year to year, month to month, or even day to day, public safety needs to be attuned to the changes in the communities we serve. Our jobs have become more than just responding to calls to arrest someone or enforce traffic laws. Our jobs as officers have developed into our being social workers as well. When people run out of options or have no idea what to do, they call 911. They dial those numbers because they know that WE WILL SHOW UP.

                Alzheimer’s and dementia have created new challenges for public safety. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, over 6 million individuals in the United States and over 25 million people worldwide have some form of dementia. While many of us are familiar with the issues related to individuals with dementia wandering away from caregivers or care-partners, we may not understand how a domestic assault could potentially not be a “domestic assault” when the suspect has lost enough memory to not realize the victim is actually his or her spouse. Officers also may not understand how grandma doesn’t remember giving her money to someone, only to accuse them of stealing it from her.

                This course will give you a better understanding of the behaviors you may see from someone who is living with dementia. You will learn how dementia affects the brain and why many of the unusual behaviors occur. You will discover how someone with dementia begins to lose touch with reality, and also how the caregiver or care-partner loses their loved one, where both seem to become strangers to one another. 

Our hope at the Training Response Network is to give officers insight into the behaviors associated with dementia so they can do their jobs more effectively, represent their agency in a positive light, and develop positive relationships with their communities.     

Course Syllabus

  • Alzheimer's: A Basic Understanding

    • Introduction By Sgt. Tim Sutton
    • The Purpose Of This Training
    • Alzheimer's vs Dementia
    • Symptoms And Stages
    • Encounters
    • Wandering
    • Shoplifting
    • Peeping Tom
    • How Do I Get Them To Stop Driving?
    • Caregiver
    • Assessment