After hearing about the tragic shooting in California of a 73 yr. old man with dementia who was shot multiple times, I wanted to share a personal story with you about my husband.  A dear friend whose husband had Frontotemporal Dementia was taken to the Emergency Room of our local hospital, she called me and was highly distressed, and I naturally wanted to be with her for emotional support.  I managed to get  Alan who was still ambulatory, although quite well advanced on his Alzheimer’s journey, dressed and we went to the ER.  Whilst I was giving my girlfriend a hug, Alan wandered out of the cubicle, and the next thing I knew I saw him standing in front of an armed Police Officer.   Alan was trying to be sociable, to make the Officer smile (to change his aggressive body language!) which I immediately noticed.   I walked over apologized and explained he had Alzheimer’s and was told “I don’t care, either you get him out of here now or I arrest him or worse”  Needless to say, I didn’t need to be told twice, and had to leave my girlfriend without support.

I fully support the Police and appreciate the difficulties they cope with on a daily basis; however,  I think there should be mandatory training that all Officers should spend a minimum of two weeks helping either a family caregiver in their home; or in a locked down Alzheimer’s unit, coping with not just the behavioral issues, but the 24/7 washing of soiled sheets etc. and the lack of sleep.  You can read a book, or take a class, but it’s not until you “walk the walk” you understand.

Yes, it was my fault for momentarily taking my eye off my husband, but this was a complete over reaction; as was the killing of this poor man in California.  I cannot imagine the pain the family are going through at this time, and they are in my thoughts and prayers.

Hopefully, the Alzheimer’ Association, Police, or someone will take action to make sure no family ever has to endure this heartache