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Patient was becoming aggressive and escalated much faster than normal. Caretaker (wife) attempted to leave the area and tripped hitting her arm. When caretaker sought medical attention, the police were called. The wife asked that they simply leave him alone and they will handle him once he calmed down. That he was no threat to himself and no one else was in the house. Despite being told he was ill and on heavy medications they chose to arrest him for felony domestic abuse. They then jailed him for 5 days without his meds. With no family in the area he is now in a motel with his seizure dog under a no contact order. We were just wondering is this sort of thing common? We are finding it hard to believe that this can happen. He did scream threats at her but which of us hasn't had that happen? That alone is a felony harassment charge. Because she had a mark on her elbow from where she hit the wall, that brought a felony assault charge. A 70 year old man is facing 6 years in prison. It is questionable if he has 6 years left on the planet. We are simply horrified at the thought that growing old and sick can be a crime.

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Yes, sadly it can happen just that way. I was very lucky with my parents when my mom was at her worst and attacked my dad and in restraining her, he bruised her arm. She’s on blood thinners so it was a nasty bruise! Now it gets better. Mom called the sheriff and told him and the deputies my dad was battering her! So the first I knew of my parents and just how crazy it was in their house was the deputy’s call on a Sunday morning.

Fortunately my parents have lived in the same rural area since the late 1980s and the deputy SAW the situation. He asked me nicely to come see what my parents need to settle down.

But I can really see where in a city setting where the police don’t know everyone they could very well make cruel mistakes. It’s scary. If the entire county where my parents live didn’t know that my parents DO NOT have fist fights I might have had to bail dad out.

Now mom’s gotten the care she needed and is happy in assisted living. She has dementia and needed some meds to calm and cheer her!

Your story is truly sad.
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This is a growing problem - police officers are not usually trained to be psychiatric social workers - basically their traditional model is more military, close unfortunately in some areas to an occupying army. So when they are called into situations of mental/physical illness, they may not know what they are seeing and how best to deal with it. Yelling orders to someone who is hallucinating is not going to work, so what next? They are thinking in "dealing with rational criminal mode". And of course the situation is complicated in that they do need to protect people from violent sick people. As above posters mentioned, it is important to take realistic measures to deal with demented patients, not wait til a disaster occurs.
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Lost, they couldn't send her to a psychiatric facility? Has any family been able to advocate for her? She needs medical care, not jail!
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I sure hope this had a happyish ending. My 91 year old grandma who has Alzheimer's and dementia along with sundowners was arrested Dec 23 at the memory care facility she was living at for attacking her roommate. She is still in jail because of the 3 days later due to the holidays and not being able to afford bond.
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Whatever happened to the case ?
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In the state of Florida, You may have that person Baker Acted which means they have to stay in a lock down hospital section specializing in people with dementia. that way they can be stabilized with the use of medication.
my wife in the past four years has been Baker Acted 5 times. However I went through hell in order to get it done. The best way is to contact his PCP doctor have the doctor write out the order for Baker Act that way they can take care of the problem for you.
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It sounds to me like the police in that area didn't know the patient, which would explain why the patient was arrested. If the cops don't know someone has decreased capacity such as dementia or Alzheimer's, then yes they will arrest the patient because they're just doing their job. If no one who knows the patient personally is around to explain at the time of the arrest, then yes the patient will definitely be arrested. Hopefully the cops will have enough sense to realize somethings just not right and be able to spot the signs of dementia or Alzheimer's after a little bit of time around the patient. Sooner or later someone who knows the patient will come forward
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Had I had my husband (soon to be X) committed anywhere when he was diagnosed with Solvent Dementia in 2002, there would have been several years I wound not have been able to enjoy us being together, even being the ONLY caregiver.
There were time I had to call the police for his physical assaults. His PCP was & is totally aware of it all. No kind of intervention did I find helpful. I am a trained medical professional & carry a license.

I believe it is a personal decision. GOD'S SPEED....
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http://preventelderabuse.blogspot.com/2006/10/perpetrators-with-dementias.html The above is an interesting blog about a case from 10 years ago, where an elderly man with dementia killed his wife with a knife; apparently everyone saw it coming. Cases like these are most likely the reason that elders with dementia who become, or seem to become violent, are being treated as domestic abuse perpetrators.

I had an elderly aunt and uncle who lived alone; he had dementia. He turned out that he was beating her black and blue to get the house keys from her, because he liked to go out and wander along the highway. She died of a heart attack shortly after he was placed in Memory Care. Would have been better if someone had figured this out. There is no doubt that the stress of caring for him and keeping this "secret" from her children and church family was a contributing factor in her death.

Most women would rather not call attention to the fact that they are being beaten. They assume that somehow, it's their own fault. Usually the abuser, demented or not, is telling the victim just that.
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This is the first time he has been anywhere near violent and in fact his wife tried to leave the room before he got to that point. It was she that slipped, not him attacking her. The police decided on their own, against the pleas of his wife that he hurt her arm. He won't end up homeless. He is a man of means. We will find him local housing and I for one will continue to help care for him. You say it happens all the time. Really, when and where has an ailing man been charge with felony domestic violence assault of.a caretaker? That was our question.
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luludesevilla - sad situation that's for sure! I'm not a "jump on the band wagon" kind of gal and have always tried to support law enforment officers - a tough job to be sure, but there have just been too many police shootings and death by excessive force in my city in the last several years for this not to be a very real worry for me. I also have a small decal on my car windshield that says "This car my contain an occupant with Autism and who may not understand or respond to verbal commands". I swear if it was legal I'd chip him like my pets for fear of him wandering off while out with a companion! We can't prepare for everything when it comes to our sick and disabled loved ones, but we can do what we can do.
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Maybe contact the local DA? Local media? The apparent conflict of interest angle should appeal to the media ("bonus" money for domestic abuse cases leading to excessive behavior - good muckraking stuff). Sadly the threat of bad publicity can sometimes elicit better behavior than an appeal to sanity.
Since this is a progressive disease your friend DOES need to come up with a long-term solution for her husband though.
In defense of the The problem with domestic abuse is that MOST of the time the situation needs a victim willing to cover for the abuser, which looks pretty much identical to someone explaining dementia.
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lulu, it is more common than you think. The husband should have been committed to a facility when the violence started. When that is not done, the violence escalates and somebody lands in jail. They end up homeless or in a motel that takes a voucher, a very temporary voucher.
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They knew. They had been informed prior to going to the house and arresting him. They decided to arrest him anyway. I am a friend who helps them out. I recently had to place my mother in a locked facility due to violent behavior (Lewy's) She attacked both myself and my sister several times. Threats were a daily, if not hourly occurrence. My sister once sought medical attention and we were never threatened with arrest. She'd get out of the house, run down the hill to the police station and tell them we were trying to steal all her things and kill her. They would kindly pack her up and bring her home. Never once did they accuse us of hurting her or her hurting us. No one was ever arrested. Is it because we were all women? I think they arrested him because he's a man and the County gets Federal grant money to prosecute domestic violence cases. I just worry this is a going to become a trend among cash strapped prosecutors offices. Even in this extremely rural area I know of 4 women who are caring for ailing husbands and two men caring for their wives. They are all very concerned what is happening here and they could be next. I will let all of them know to officially notify the local authorities of their situations. I see Rainmom's point. This too is a shoot first area. The message may not get down to the cop on the beat but at least it will be officially recorded so if something like this does happen they will have a fall back in Court. It really says something when we spend so much time protecting our loved ones from harm. Harming themselves, harming us and other family members, now we get to protect them from the police too. Like things aren't complicated enough already. But so far with the exception of the death involving room mates I can find no other cases of a patient being arrested for assaulting a caregiver related or not. This can't be a one off. If it is, that in it's self is helpful information.
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The Twisp Police so not operate like what? You can't call them and tell them that a person with dementia lives at 222 Maple Drive? I'd think that would be easier there than it is here in NYc.
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Regarding alerting the local police precinct - I would encourage anyone living with an elderly person with dementia and also for people with disabilities. My son is severly autistic - completely non verbal and doesn't understand a lot of what is said to him. He is also about 6'2" and 185 lbs. At a glance Rainman looks "normal". The police in my city have itchy trigger fingers and are well known to "shoot first, ask questions later". Rainman would never respond to "stop and put your hands over your head". There are actual forms for registering with the police for the disabled - I'm sure someone with dementia would be able to use that same form.
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Sadly the police in this area do not operate like that. The situation was clearly explained to them. The wife did just what she was trained to do and exited the situation. He did not push her or hit her. She simply stepped on a loose floor rug. A good enough reason not to have throw rugs, yes but to consider it assault by a confused love one seems such a stretch. And yes she is now aware that something more needs to be done and that is enough pain to have to suffer. The thought she may never get him back is really becoming unbearable for her personally. She feels she has let him down. That it is somehow her fault because she went to have her elbow looked at. We were hoping perhaps someone had experience with this sort of thing or if anyone knew of laws in different areas that might help to guide us through this. It seems they are caught in a system that they really don't belong in and certainly have no time left together to spare on.
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It's sad, but I believe it. Recently in a nearby town a dementia patient who was living in a group home was arrested for murder when she stabbed her roommate! I was shocked, but she's in jail.(Louisburg, NC) I suppose her attorney will try to explain that she is mentally incapable of forming an intent to kill. Still, it's a horrible thing for a dementia patient to go through.

That's why it's so important to ensure that the dementia patient is protected. They could get hurt trying to hurt someone else. It's one reason that aggressive and unpredictable dementia patients are at risk when cared for in the home. They can turn on a caretaker and get hurt themselves by police.
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I don't know if you are the caregiver/wife or not. I will tell you that my elderly aunt was beaten black and blue by my uncle with Alzheimer's for years before their kids got wise to it and had him placed in a lovely facility. She died of a massive heart attack a couple of months after he was placed; he lived for several more years, blissfully happy in his memory care/AL facility.
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Because the local police should be alerted to the fact that there was a person with diminished capacity on those premises. If you don't tell the local precinct, then they assume that the assailant is in their right mind and arrest him/her. If they know that there is a person with a mental illness/dementia, etc at that address, they might, at least in my city, send out a special team and the elder would be in a secure facility with good medical/ psych care, not jail without meds. That's why.
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No, why would they? A persons personal medical information is just that personal and no business of the police.
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Had the local police been alerted to his condition prior to this incident?
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