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New Council Okays First Responder Dementia Training, May Add Member With Dementia

Sascha Cordner

Providing training tools for first responders and continuing efforts to create a dementia-friendly community are among the topics discussed at the first meeting of a local council.

Richard Prudom is the deputy secretary of the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. He’s also the chair of the Tallahassee-Leon County Dementia Care and Cure Initiative Advisory Council. It’s all part of a new initiative for the area to become a pilot dementia-curing community. Prudom says we can get some good ideas from his homeland.

“I’m English by birth, and that’s what they have in England—for example—they have a separate section of this pie shop for dementia patients,” he said. “And, they can go in there as individuals and can interact with a person who is dementia friendly and they can actually buy the pie with an actual date on it. So, when they go back home, they can’t forget when they bought it and when they need it eat it by because that’s something that apparently is very typical. They will walk off without paying, obviously not deliberately.”

For now, Prudom says the council is focused on making sure law enforcement and firefighters receive proper training on potential interactions with people who have dementia, like Alzheimer’s disease. Per a suggestion, they’re also considering adding someone to the council who has dementia.

And, Tallahassee Commissioner Gil Ziffer—also the council’s newly elected vice chair—likes that idea.

“They understand what it’s like to go out, they understand what it’s like to be perhaps caught in a situation they don’t feel comfortable in—we don’t know what those feelings are—and also to keep us inspired  and moving forward to work on a cure, to do more for caring,” he said. “So, I think it’s a good idea to have someone in our midst who is actually going through it.”

That overall idea is expected to be further discussed at the DCCI advisory council’s next meeting. For now, through an application process, the council is looking for two more members: a caregiver of a dementia patient and a local provider of dementia-related services. Applications can be found on the council’s website.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.