Letter to the editor: Thanks to police, state patrol for care of dementia patient

I was recently interviewed by KIRO news regarding my husband’s missing bicycle. My husband has a rare form of dementia called frontotemporal degeneration and progressive peripheral aphasia.  This has left him with very little ability to communicate and erratic behavior; however, he was an athlete and is still very strong. He is not eligible for placement as he is strong and easily agitated towards care partners.
We are trying to care for him at home but he is a wanderer. He refuses GPS and changes his gear, shoes, coats…etc. A few weeks ago several good citizens called 911 when he was found riding his bicycle on I-5. The Washington State Patrol picked him up and took him to safety. He can no longer drive a car so he took his bike. We disabled the bicycles but he was able to get his road bike repaired at a shop and took off again. This time he was found on I-90 walking in the median without his bicycle yet in all his riding clothes and shoes. A state trooper stopped him half way up the pass eastbound.
The reason I am writing you today is to give great thanks to the officers of the Edmonds Police Department and the Washington State Patrol in Snohomish County and King County. And thank you to the WSDOT workers on I-90 who reported him at 1:30 in the morning, as well as officers who patrol Snoqualmie and North Bend.
I am so proud to be a citizen in Washington state that we have officers/troopers who are kind and sensitive to the issues and deep problems associated with dementia patients and their care partners.
Susan Stark

2 Replies to “Letter to the editor: Thanks to police, state patrol for care of dementia patient”

  1. Working in the Elder industry since 2004, and specifically the past several years with community members facing dementia, I am impressed and grateful to see this letter. Our police and fire are often the first to witness “unusual” behavior and it can be very difficult to isolate the cause. Treating another with dignity, kindness and inquiry while holding a focus toward safety can be a lot to navigate ~ and YES, let’s commend those who are doing this well! (Susan ~ thank you for being there for the deeply difficult care in your hands.)


  2. Thank you. Behavioral variant FTD PPA is difficult for many to understand. You obviously do understand and care.


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