Many are unaware that dementia affects more than memory—it can cause problems with language, disorientation of time and space, impaired judgement, changes in behaviour…and many other symptoms. Therefore, it’s important to recognize that people living with dementia face many risks and roadblocks when out and about in their communities. It’s also important to know that 60% of people living with dementia will go missing at some point—and of those that do go missing, 50% who are lost for more than 24 hours face severe injury or death. That’s why it’s so essential for first responders across Ontario to understand dementia and how people living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease behave differently when missing.
If your detachment could use some dementia education, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your nearest Alzheimer Society today to arrange a training session. With the help of police like you and other Search & Rescue experts, the Alzheimer Society of Ontario has developed special presentations and materials specifically for police and other first responders so that you can respond to the best of your abilities. Getting started is simple—just ask your local Society!
Are you aware that the Alzheimer Society offers training to new recruits during basic constable training at the Ontario Police College? While at the OPC, constables will recieve Finding Your Way education that was developed by the Rapid Response Advisory Group about dementia, the risk of going missing, and information on how to communicate effectively with a person living with dementia and their care partner.
Services can request dementia education at anytime through their local Alzheimer Society. We recommend this is done once yearly in order to keep up with new information on dementia, ensure all new staff are trained, and to keep the information fresh and top-of-mind. If your Service could use an education session, we encourage you to contact your local Society.
Your search and rescue team may want customized training specific to their needs. If that’s the case—contact your local Society to request SAR-specific training where they’ll not only go over general dementia training information, but can do a deep-dive on learning the specifics when it comes to the risks of going missing for people living with dementia, and can provide an overview of tracking devices (like those found here) and the search programs (such as these) they can access to assist them when it comes to searches.
If you need dementia training ASAP, fret not! We offer 24/7 free dementia training through e-learning. You can learn more about the Finding Your Way “Living Safely in the Community” course modules over here.