Can dementia patients live in a community? A case of a patient in trouble with the law

Miwako Shoji, Junko Takada, Fumiko Nakashima, Kenichi Meguro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We experienced a case involving a 67-year-old man with Alzheimer's disease who exhibited criminal behaviour. Although his behaviour improved after admission to a long-term care facility, he was not able to return to his home because he was suspected of theft. At 62 years of age, he developed slowly progressive memory loss and had difficulty managing money. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and began taking galantamine. He was placed in police custody after he had tried to take another person's fuel tank early one morning. However, he was not charged with theft because he did not remember his actions. Because it was difficult for his sister to constantly monitor him, he was admitted to a long-term care facility. He displayed high emotional insecurity and continually asked when he could return home. His physical function was good, enabling him to perform various activities alone, but he experienced the delusion of theft during these activities. He appealed the decision prohibiting him from going home. However, the staff suggested that he would exhibit problematic behaviours at home, and it was decided that he should not live at home. After living at the long-term care facility for 3 years, he died of acute cardiac infarction. When a person goes to jail for committing a crime, that person can return to society after completing a jail term. That was not the case with this man with Alzheimer's disease. As such, guidelines and standards to evaluate the criminal responsibility of dementia patients need to be established.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)605-608
Number of pages4
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Nov 1


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • crime
  • long-term care facility
  • theft

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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