First responders undergo dementia awareness training

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Region 8 first responders underwent dementia awareness training Wednesday morning.

The Center on Aging-Northeast hosted the training, aimed at helping first responders improve their interactions with people who have dementia and how to make what could be a tense situation easier.

"We have a lot of people in our area who have dementia or who are on the edge of being diagnosed with dementia," said Linda Tate, director of the Center on Aging-Northeast. "We will teach them about the anatomy and physiology of the brain, how it starts, symptoms to look for, and also how to de-escalate or how to handle people they come across who have dementia."

With the growing aging population in the area, Tate stressed the importance of having people who can recognize when someone has dementia and are trained on how to approach them.

"A lot of these people have behavioral issues and it's not because they are mentally ill and that they need to go to jail or need to be in an institution, it's because of the brain chemistry," Tate said. "More and more people are going to be coming into that age where dementia affects that population. So, It's probably very rarely that we come across a day where we don't have somebody that we encounter that has dementia."

The Center on Aging's facilities across the state are participating in a campaign to make Arkansas dementia-friendly.

Tate said they plan on offering this type of training until they've covered all 17 counties they serve. They also hope to offer it to the community in the future.

For more information on the training, contact the Center on Aging-Northeast at (870) 207-7595.

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