The state is leading a new push to educate first responders in Indiana about dementia. It aims to improve the response of those on the front lines of emergency calls.
A person with Alzheimer’s or dementia could become agitated or confused during an emergency call. The new partnership between the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and CICOA Aging and In-Home Solutions aims to empower a firefighter or medical professional to effectively address a situation.
Dustin Zeigler with CICOA helps leads the effort.
"How to recognize someone who has dementia, how to approach them, how to communicate with them, just different considerations about the condition," says Zeigler.
He says this helps by making the responders’ jobs easier and keeps patients safer.
Noblesville and Carmel firefighters have already received the training that will be offered statewide.
Zeigler says without this education, responders could misread a situation.
"They don’t know how to approach, how to communicate, the body language, it can send the situation to a whole higher level of complexity," says Zeigler.
The push is based off the Dementia Friends Indiana initiative to make communities across Indiana more dementia aware.