Health and Wellness

Caregiver Help Radio

Elaine K. Sanchez

Caregiver Help Radio – Diffusing Volatile Situations – How to Handle People Who Become Violent

There are lots of reasons people cross the line from anger to violence. Fear, pain, confusion, delirium, chemical imbalances and mental illness can all contribute to aggressive, even homicidal behavior.

On today’s program we discuss two recent crisis events. One ended tragically. The other ended triumphantly. Join us as we visit with Lynda Crandal, a gerontological nurse who is currently the Interim Director of Pioneer Network, an association that calls for a radical change in the culture of aging. The members of Pioneer Network focus on person-centered care, and their goal is to assure that when older adults move into long-term care communities that they are treated in such a way that they will thrive rather than decline.

Lynda shares her thoughts about the response of two Chicago police officers who were called to an assisted living community to subdue a 95 year-old man who was reacting violently to being treated for a urinary tract infection. The police taized him and then shot him in the abdomen with a bean bag gun. Not surprisingly, the man died from complications of being shot.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, we visit with Cheri Lovre, Director of Crisis Management Institute. Cheri has worked in prevention and intervention of violence in schools for more than 35 years. She has responded to several school shootings, including Columbine High School in Colorado and Nickel Mines Amish School in Pennsylvania. In the two years following 9/11, she worked with 27 different schools that had to relocate from the neighborhoods close to Ground Zero.

Our conversation with Cheri centers on how a part-time bookkeeper at an elementary school in Georgia saved countless lives when she talked a gunman into surrendering an AK47 and 500 rounds of ammunition.

There are powerful lessons about what to do and what not to do in both of these situations. Elaine has also posted a link on her Facebook Page to an animated video she produced called, “Yikes! Someone is Mad at Me!” This video provides helpful strategies for diffusing someone else’s anger and can be particularly helpful to family and professional caregivers when they get angry with one another.

As always, if you have a story you’d like to share, a question you’d like to ask, or a rant you’d like to get off your chest, connect with Elaine on Facebook, and she’ll do her best to respond.