The Great Escape:
Wandering With Dementia
If you have ever cared for, worked with or been around someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia; you have probably worried about the great escape.
The Wheels Spin In Your Head With “What If” Questions?
What if they wake up during the night and get out of the house?
What if we are out in public and they go to the restroom and don’t return?
What if they are driving the car or go for a walk and don’t return?
What if we are grocery shopping and they disappear not only from the aisle you’re in, but the store?
What if you are at the theater and you have to go to the restroom? You both agree they can stay and watch the show, but when you come back they have left their seat.
The List Of These Scenarios Is Endless
The “What Ifs” Are Exhausting
I remember when my Father lived in a nursing home. He was on the second floor and used to love to “escape.” In fact, one of my favorite pictures of him is what we call his “Most Wanted” picture. They sure weren’t what you would consider to be a good quality picture, but they did served the purpose to help ensure safety. Dad was beaming with a huge confident smile on face and a glint in his eye communicating to all, “I still have it in me!” The photos were posted on the first floor of the nursing home, so staff knew if they saw him he was to be brought right back up to the secure floor.
With my Mother who had dementia, I asked myself the “What If” questions often. At the lake, at my home, where she lived, out in public, visiting friends or families, on vacations.
Mom and Dad on our last family vacation together on a cruise ship.
It was a lot of work, but well worth it.
The possibility of losing mom was always top of mind, even though Mom seemed content; I had heard the horror stories of wandering just happening out of the blue.
I remember taking mom to a play once. It was in a huge venue with a couple of thousand people in attendance. We lost her in the crowd for about 30 minutes. It was one of the worst feelings in the world trying to scan the area knowing the lights would be dimmed shortly and the show would start. We were lucky. We found her sitting with another family thoroughly enjoying herself and engaged in conversation. I was thankful we were in a large church venue. The other family was so kind and understanding.
Last year a friend’s sister went missing from an assisted living community. I happened to be traveling and didn’t know about the incident until I returned home. I was shocked at the lack of process and publicity for a missing vulnerable adult. On day nine of her sister being missing, the police were still “investigating.” No PR had been sent out to Media and no posters were even out in the community. Our understanding was no one had gone through her room looking for clues, her Doctor nor pharmacy were not notified in case a prescription was refilled, and her bank and typical places she ventured to were unaware she had vanished. My heart sunk. My stomach felt sick and the muscles in my neck and back all tightened.
I was not only shocked, but deeply disturbed by the lack of process
While investigating further, I found that the typical “search parties” that we see on the news are usually coordinated by family and friends; not the police. I also, found that many police departments, don’t have a protocol for missing teenagers and adults.
Adults young and older are looked at differently. Do they just want or need to get away for a while? Most say they show up in a day or two. Law Enforcement has found a missing persons: opinions, preferences, behaviors, addictions and peer pressure can all come into play.
Law Enforcement Agencies Seem To Have Different Views And Priorities
In talking with various police departments I found they all varied. Most knew of the Amber Alert for children. Few knew of the Silver Alert or what their protocol was to use it; let alone other methods to assist in locating the missing.
I Found An Excellent Resource To Protect The Vulnerable:
I would like to personally introduce you to a technology I recently ran across and which I am using with my own family. I believe it is not only economical, but can reduce worry and can increase a sense of security with ones’ family.
Lori La Bey with her Mother Dorothy
When A Loved One Goes Missing
In that moment when a loved one goes missing this technology pulls data together quickly when families stress levels are off the charts and minds are not thinking clearly. Knowing the Caregiver Alert Center, known as the CAC, is your partner when timing is critical can bring you a sense of comfort. Knowing you have prepared for the worst case scenario, in hopes of never having to utilize their services brings a sense of confidence helping families live life fully.
Not only is the Caregiver Alert Center ideal for vulnerable adults like those with Alzheimer’s and other dementia’s, down syndrome, mental illness; but their sister companies provide this same sense of comfort and control:
- Child Alert Center
- Critter Alert Center
- College Alert Center
- Corporate Alert Center
I love the simplicity of CAC’s service along with the speed in which it is delivered when crunch time is so very critical.
CAC’s Tagline: “Where Speed Is Life.”
Registering your loved ones critical information in advance allows you to be prepared if an unexpected crisis would hit. All of the CAC’s can pull together a digital poster in less than 10 minutes and start distributing it to your buddy list immediately.
The CAC services creates and distributes a missing person’s information immediately to the right resources in mass numbers utilizing our patented mobile technology. This includes the family, their buddy list, law enforcement and our mobile network.
Did you know 90% of missing people are found with eyes and ears and 98% of mobile phones are capable of opening a text link and sending a mini-poster to others via their phone. This technology is extremely effective
It is well known, that the ears and eyes on the street and via social media can be a critical source in finding a missing person or pet.
Protect Your Loved Ones
Below are a couple of examples of the digital posters
Listen to an Interview with Mark Arnold, CEO of CAC, LLC
Additional Resources On Dementia & Caregiving
Dementia Friendly Communities and the Dementia Village
The New Hollywood Film On Dementia
“His Neighbor Phil”
Educate: Keynotes and Training With Lori La Bey