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.