Thursday, April 9, 2015
Alzheimer's, Dementia in Prison: (Research, Video 2:28)
When people think about older adults with dementia, they usually think about them living at home or at institutions other than prisons. But the reality is that many older adults with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia live as prison inmates. The United States puts more people in prison than any other country in the world. Over a three-year period, the number of prisoners from ages 65 and older grew 94 times the rate of the overall prison population. This is due to an aging population, longer prison sentences, and stricter parole laws.
This very vulnerable population is particularly challenging because early detection of Alzheimer’s and other dementias are difficult to diagnose and treat. Many prisoners live with serious risk factors for dementia such as depression. With no prison-specific guidelines, clinicians must be innovative in meeting these inmates’ needs in order to provide quality care.
The research community focused on dementia must include studies using the prison populations across the country and develop better guidelines for their treatment. This video features the challenges of the American prison system in dealing with older adult prisoners with dementia.
Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.