Looking Out for Our Seniors:
by Tim Froberg
Elderly residents in the Fox Cities don’t have a better friend than Carrie Peters.
Peters, a senior sergeant with the Appleton Police Department, works diligently to assist those dealing with dementia and other age-related cognitive issues. She has guided various important initiatives at the A.P.D., including a new officer training program on dementia response. The program is partnered with the Aging & Disability Resource Center and Fox Valley Memory Project. Peters helps train officers and prepare them for experiences with individuals that have dementia and Alzheimer’s-related diseases.
Peters received a degree in human services and professional leadership from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and has taken dementia courses offered by state, county, and law enforcement organizations along with the Alzheimer’s Association First Responder Training program.
Her work hasn’t gone unnoticed. Peters, a Winneconne High School graduate and an Appleton police officer for the past 13 ½ years, was recently named as one of Northeast Wisconsin’s Remarkable Women by television station WFRV-TV, Channel 5.
What inspired you to be a police officer?
“I had been looking at things more human services and social work-related, but I chatted with a couple officers from the Appleton P.D. at a career fair. I found out that social work and police work were really intertwined and very similar in the people we serve.”
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
“Dealing with people going through a bad time. What’s rewarding is you have the opportunity to help people navigate a very troublesome time in their life.”
Do you have a personal connection with dementia or Alzheimer’s-related issues?
“My husband’s father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He passed away in April of 2019 after a long fight with the disease. Later in his diagnosis, there were times where he didn’t know who we were, but we could still have positive interactions with him and do things that made him happy.”
What’s the most important thing one can do to help a loved one with these diseases?
“It’s really important to interact with them, because even though their responses and abilities may change, they’re still that person you love. Interacting with them makes them feel safe with you, because essentially, in their mind, they’re talking with a stranger.”