Listen Live

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — Local firefighters and first responders participated in special training on Wednesday aimed at learning how to identify someone with dementia.

Carmel and Noblesville fire departments are working to become the first departments in the state to require the training.

With increasing regularity, firefighters are responding to patients suffering some form of dementia.

“We really are,” said Carmel Fire Department public information officer Tim Griffin. “And one of the big key factors is the aging population, the boomers, we have this aging population and the numbers are staggering at the number of people this will affect or is affecting now.”

Every day the Carmel Fire Department encounters someone with dementia. The increase has prompted the department to create a PSA on how others can spot signs that a person with dementia may be in trouble in their community.

Treating patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia requires special training, which usually involves a series of questions.

“So if we are able to maybe see those signs as first responders as we are taking them to the hospital for a fall or concussion that is one thing we can do,” said Griffin. “We can be better with our questions, once we do know a patient has Alzheimer’s or dementia, their answers may be a little slower to process to answer us.”

In many cases, a first responder may be the first person to encounter the patient outside of his or her family.

Natalie Sutton with the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Indiana says the training is an important piece to a huge puzzle.

“Dementia creates some situations that can provide challenging safety situations whether that being someone driving or incidences in the kitchen activities of daily living,” said Sutton.

Authorities are recommending that if you have a loved one suffering from dementia to let local law enforcement know.

(Photo by WISH-TV.)