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#Alzheimer’s and #Dementia – Identification Bracelets

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This morning while having my coffee on the balcony on an unseasonably warm and sunny day, I noticed a few police cars parked below in front of my building. Within the next hour there was a knock at my door- it was a policeman.

The policeman was doing a door to door check, as he held his cell phone up to me, showing me a picture of an elderly woman, asking if I’d seen her. The woman was missing, she had Alzheimer’s disease. She lives in my building with her husband and was last seen, caught on surveillance camera, exiting the front lobby around midnight. I told him I’d never seen that woman, as I don’t really know anyone in the building.

 

He proceeded to ask me if he could come in and have a look around. I asked him if he thought I was hiding some poor lost woman in my condo. He smiled and said it was protocol to check to see if she slipped into someone’s apartment. I began chatting with him, telling him that I was sure nobody else was in my home except my sick husband.

As my heart felt so sorry for this lost soul and her poor husband who had awoken to find that his wife was missing, I couldn’t help but ask the officer if she was wearing some sort of an identification bracelet. He said she wasn’t.

 

This incident stayed with me all day long as the police cars remained parked outside for most of the day. I couldn’t help but wonder where she may be, and if anybody cared enough to try and ask her if she’s lost. Even if she didn’t know who or where she was, someone could have picked up on that and called the police. I thought about her poor old husband whom she still lives with at home. I thought about how hard and frightening it must be for him to be with someone he loves who most of the time doesn’t remember him, and to now have to worry about what I’m sure was his biggest nightmare – her wandering off.

 

No, I don’t know these people, and there are millions of others out there with this frightening disease, and loved ones who worry about them. I just wanted to share this story for awareness. Although I’m sure many caregivers of people who suffer this disease may think they have a handle on things, the victims of Alzheimer’s and Dementia live in a different realm in their minds. They aren’t always aware of what time it is, what day it is, or even what era they are living in. I’ve heard countless stories over time about Alzheimer/ Dementia victims disappearing in the night while their loved ones are still sleeping.

 

Today I’m just advocating for those who suffer these diseases. If you haven’t already got an identification bracelet on your sick loved one, please look into getting one for them as soon as possible. It only takes one time for them to disappear and not be found, or worse, found dead somewhere whether at the hand of a sick individual or the elements.

 

I’m including a link here from the Alzheimer Society of Canada, supporting the use of Medic Alert Bracelets and services. There is some good information about supporting loved ones who live with these diseases. Alternatively, if you Google this disease and/or identification bracelets for these diseases, you will find links to information for help in other countries.

 

http://www.alzheimer.ca/en/Living-with-dementia/Day-to-day-living/Safety/Safely-Home 

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D.G. Kaye is a nonfiction/memoir writer, who writes from her own life experiences and self-medicates with a daily dose of humor.

30 Comments

  • Vashti Quiroz-Vega

    Hello Debby! What a heart-wrenching story. I had a neighbor whose husband had Alzheimer and used to wonder off all the time. Often my husband or I used to drive around the neighborhood looking for him. He has since passed away. It used to devastate his wife every time it happened. A medical I.D. Bracelet is an excellent idea. I believe every Alzheimer and dementia patient should wear one. I will be checking out the link. Thank you for the information. <3 xx

    • dgkaye

      Thanks Vashti, for sharing your story of compassion here too. I’m happy to pass on information. Hopefully, if we all share helpful info to spread awareness we can help someone else. xo <3

  • Carol Balawyder

    Debby, I commend your kindness and compassion for the poor woman. I am however, concerned about the police officer asking you if he can come in and look around. It seems to me that they need a warrant to do that. Just wondering.

    • dgkaye

      Thanks Carol. You know, I asked the officer a few questions before I decided to allow him in. I thought it invasive, but with a sick husband to tend to, and nothing to hide, I just let him in to get it over with. 🙂

  • Sherri

    Oh Deb, it’s so sad isn’t it? Do you know if the poor woman was found? Thank you so much for bringing to light this vital information about identification bracelets for those with Alzheimer’s and Dementia and sharing this very important link. You are so kind and compassionate, your advocacy for those who are vulnerable in our society is a shining light, bless you <3 xoxo

  • D. Wallace Peach

    You are so sweet, while dealing with your hubby’s health crisis, to be advocating for others. Loss of memory, the core of who we are, is so tragic. Thanks for the thoughtful post and excellent advice 🙂

    • dgkaye

      I often write about things that occur in my daily life Diana. I just couldn’t help thinking, after that incident, how people suffering from that awful disease don’t have any identification on them if they get lost. It just seems like common sense. Or maybe I’m just so much of a worry wart that’s the first thing I’d be looking into. And thanks for your lovely comment. My worry compartment is big enough to worry about more than one person at a time, lol. 🙂

  • olganm

    Sad indeed, and you’re right, it’s more common than some people realise (there are always messages on local news and radio stations). The bracelet is a very good idea and I know there are talks about tracking devices… Sometimes it can be a bit difficult to approach somebody you don’t know (confused people might become aggressive faced with a person or circumstances they don’t understand). It’s a very sad and cruel illness, not that any are kind… Thanks for the advice and take care. All the best to your husband. 🙂

  • Teagan Geneviene

    Debby, I’m glad you didn’t let him in. (I’m also glad you made that remark.) That’s ridiculously excessive. Unless someone is in the habit of leaving their door standing open… Yeesh. If they waste time that way they’ll never find her.
    Hugs.

  • ghostbusterbev

    Debby, wonderful idea and very thoughtful of you to remind people who have loved ones with Alzheimer’s and Dementia to “arm” them with identification bracelets. I will pass along this suggestion. I do hope the missing woman has been found safe by now and measures are taken to prevent her from leaving again without an escort.

  • Elaine Mansfield

    A few weeks ago, just before I took another emergency trip to my brother’s (not the most recent and last emergency trip), I got a call that my mother-in-law was wandering on the 6th floor of her building at 5:30 am and didn’t know where she was. The building is secured, but I had to nearly double health aide hours to make sure that didn’t happen again, especially when I was spending so much time away. We seem to have things settled down again, but I’ll hold on to the suggestion for an ID bracelet if this happens again.

    • dgkaye

      Yes, I believe I read this on your blog and left comment. Too many times I hear about patient’s with this illness wandering and it would have to be quite a fright for them and loved ones. I think the bracelet is a great idea for many. But I would have thought at least where Virginia is living in a home, that the staff at least would know who she is. Unless of course, there is fear of her exiting the building.

  • kcg1974

    Sadly, this happens all too frequently. Thank you so for sharing. By doing so you are helping to raise awareness and educate many. Bless you, Debby.

          • kcg1974

            Yes, Debby. Back then, my family didn’t understand the changes, the ‘slipping away.’ So much pain for the loved ones together with frustration and sadness for the patient. I may write more about this. Memories are flooding my mind. Tears in my eyes, Debby. Bless you.

  • reocochran

    My Mom has dementia and is not always able to identify roads so I worry she will wander. We bought her one of those necklaces where it buzzes emergency number. I am a little forgetful but it is a great safety protection, since it has information to tell the source who is buzzing them and her location. Debby, we took it off her necklace and got a nice sturdy velco watch strap to put this Safe Alert (I still cannot totally remember the name of it!)
    Thank you for caring about the woman who wandered out of her apt and I appreciate your telling others to protect the wandering person by getting a name tag or a special medical I.D. 🙂

    • dgkaye

      Thanks for sharing your story Robin. And I’m sorry to hear that your mom is suffering this debilitating disease. But I’m glad you are taking all the right steps to insure her safety should she wander off. 🙂

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