Sudbury

Sudbury police, Alzheimer society to partner in training exercise

Alzheimer's disease and dementia are more commonly being diagnosed in people as young as in their 40s, according to the Sudbury area Alzheimer society, and a planned training exercise with city police aims to raise awareness of that.

Exercise will simulate search for missing person with dementia

Stephanie Leclair is the executive director of the Alzheimer Society Sudbury-Manitoulin North Bay and Districts. She is slated to take part in a training exercise with Sudbury police on Friday. (Alzheimer Society Sudbury-Manitoulin North Bay and Districts.)

Alzheimer's disease and dementia are more commonly being diagnosed in people as young as in their 40s, according to the Sudbury area Alzheimer society, and a planned training exercise with city police aims to raise awareness of that.

The exercise will simulate the police search for a missing person with Alzheimer's, said local Alzheimer society branch executive director Stephanie Leclair, who will be playing the part of the person police are searching for.

"It can happen without any warning and it can happen in very familiar surroundings," she told CBC News.

"It's important for people to be aware and as a community, I think it's important for us to know even what to look for when we see someone who is not dressed for weather or who looks confused or who looks a little panicked."

The exercise is scheduled for Friday morning in Azilda in Greater Sudbury.

Changing face of dementia

Alzheimer's and dementia are no longer diseases just for the elderly, Leclair said adding that Friday's drill with police is a chance to raise awareness about the changing face of dementia.

She also hopes the scenario will show others how they should approach individuals who may seem lost or confused.

"You want to tell the person who you are and ask them their name and you want to use yes or know questions," she advised.

"Make sure that you're not correcting them in reality checks," she continued. "So if the person thinks that they're in a certain place you don't need to correct them."

Aside from taking part in the scheduled exercise, Leclair said police also maintain a vulnerable persons registry, which is a database of people with Alzheimer's and dementia, along with other neurological disorders like Parkinson's disease and autism.

Caregivers can voluntarily sign up people in their care through the Sudbury police's website if they believe that their condition affects their cognitive ability and  they may pose a threat to themselves or others.

The registry ensures there's a description and picture on file, in case police have to conduct a search.

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