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Miami Valley Alzheimer's Association Training First Responders To Interact With Elderly Patients

People holding purple and yellow paper flowers in a plaza adjacent to the baseball stadium in downtown Dayton during an Alzheimer's Association event in 2019.
Alzheimer's Association: Miami Valley Chapter
Alzheimer's Association: Miami Valley Chapter event in 2019.

According to the Alzheimer's Association of Ohio, nearly a quarter-million people aged 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s disease here in the state. That number is expected to increase 15 to 20 percent in the next five years.

Legislation has been introduced in the Ohio House that would require enhanced dementia training for first responders. While the vote on House Bill 23 is pending, there has been an increase in the number of emergency calls in Ohio involving older adults with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

So, the Alzheimer’s Association Miami Valley Chapter is moving ahead with its plan to train fire, EMS, and police crews.

The Alzheimer association’s State Public Policy Director is Trey Addison. He says the increasing number of interactions between first responders and individuals with dementia make the training imperative.

“The beauty of the training that will take place for our first responders in Ohio is really how do you effectively communicate to get information out of that individual who may be wandering or who may have dementia,” he says.

National stats say six in 10 individuals with dementia will wander.

And while HB 23 works its way through the legislature, Addison says communities throughout Ohio can be proactive, and contact the Alzheimer's Association about training.

Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.