Dementia Training for Law Enforcement — Go for It!


I’ve been hearing about it more and more frequently: first responders taking training in working with individuals with dementia.  Today, I ran across a news article that reinforced not only the need but the interest on the part of emergency workers for this type of training.

Of course, it got me thinking…what might happen if you, as a service to your community, offered a series of community classes to EMT, ER workers and other emergency personnel on this very topic? 

Think about the elder with dementia that wanders away from his home.  When the police find him, how do they get to go along with them without getting agitated or combative?  And what is he does become agitated?  How do they calm him without restraints and potential harm?

If you’re looking for new ideas to become the go-to resource in your community, consider this one.  We’ve got the training kits and DVDs you can use in a class ready to roll.  We’ve probably even got some creative ideas we can generate together to make this a regular community event.  It might be just what your local community needs.

30 Responses to “Dementia Training for Law Enforcement — Go for It!”

  1. Carolyn Jo Kellogg

    I think law enforcement as well as shop keepers and EMTs would welcome this kind of discussion. It gets a bit more edgy if the demented and hallucinating individual has a deadly weapon.

  2. Lanette Sperline-Lara

    Absolutely! This is exactly what we’ve been talking about in our local area for months now…

  3. Stacey Tardich

    Excellent idea! how can we get the training kits and dvd’s.
    thank you!

  4. Patty Suffern

    I work with an organization called SALT (Seniors and Law Enforcement Together.) We train police and emergency personnel on recognizing signs of elder abuse. This could be added as another module for emergency personnel.

  5. Sandy

    We have more and more aging or with mental illness. I would love to see more information getting out to people in the community.

  6. Lisa Maxwell

    I believe everyone could use the basic in Dementia training. I have my Certification in Alzheimer’s training with that intent to train our local agencies on this very subject!

  7. Kathy Patton

    Yes, it is awesome, I have presented to the EMT/Paramedics in our community which service to counties. They tell me they get no training. Also, I have presented to 2nd year med students, as they get no training

  8. Clyde

    I think this a great idea and way to start a dialog on to heal the communities the nation. I’m definitely interested in moving this forward..

  9. Shannon Benaitis

    I work for a non-profit disability services agency in northern Illinois. I am the Project Manager for the Staff Training Department. One of my responsibilities (and passions) is to provide training on mental health and developmental disabilities free of charge to first responders in the many communities where we provide services. I would love to incorporate a dementia component, as I think many of the issues re: approach and interaction are the same.

    Many of the police departments who have accepted our offer of free training have said that they will take whatever help and education they can get in matters related to special populations. I’m doing a Train the Trainer for other agencies like ours at a statewide conference in October so that more agencies can do what we’re doing in order to improve relationships and interactions with first responders.

  10. Sheryl Sodorff

    I would like to get the training kit and DVD. We need to be a resource in our community for this. We run into many people who do not have any or enough training on this subject, including caregivers! Thank you!

  11. Jackie Raschke

    I actually put a training together for first responders and successfully completed my first presentation with local EMT’s. They were very appreciative of the training as this was new information for most of them.

  12. Angela Aracena

    This is definitely part of it takes a village to care for someone with dementia. We need to target different sectors of our community but first responders should be at the forefront. We are working with the police department in one of our communities. We are training trainers to identify and manage people with dementia who have become lost on foot.

  13. Sarah Hartford

    Great Idea ! This would be a great way to educate our entire community. Don’t stop at first responders . Keep the information flowing. So many people need this kind of training. .

  14. Leonida Salusipan Noriega

    Go for it and will you please include on our ceu seminars too thanks

  15. Debbie

    This is a great idea! As we are living longer, the number of persons with dementia is increasing. Families can’t afford long term care and there will be more contact with law enforcement when the person wanders or becomes violent.

  16. suzanne gillette

    A former co-worker and I offered the Virtual Dementia training for our local EMTs. Most of their staff went through the training and found it to be a real eye opener and useful. We were so glad to serve our Community.

  17. Maryanne

    We started working with our local EMT’s this year. It’s so important that they have this vital information as our population ages.

  18. Sharon Brothers

    Thank you to everyone who responded to this post about dementia training for first responders.

    Many of you correctly pointed out that a wide range of individuals in the community could benefit from this training, including shop keepers, police, and allied health professionals.

    Here are some ideas to get you started offering training in your own community:

    1) Simple, family-friendly DVDs that explain dementia and how to help in easy-to-understand terms. Start here.
    2) Full Training Kit, including DVDs, Instructor Guide and student handouts. Start here.
    3) Online Course access to community members. I recommend our Family Learning Center® for this purpose. The on-demand nature of these courses lets people take refreshers – or their entire training – when they need it. For family caregivers, this is particularly important as today, mom or dad may be happy to shower; next month, this may become their biggest challenge. Learn more about the Family Learning Center.

    Some suggested other resources such as the Virtual Dementia Tour from Second Winds Dreams®, a great program packaging what we used to do with clothes from the local thrift shop, old glasses, Vaseline and other props early in my career. Just something as simple as asking people to role play the role of the elder who can’t understand why you want him to do something and the person, preferably in their actual career role, trying to force the person to do something. It’s eye-opening, easy to do, and a great gift to help educate your community!


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