Lost and Found a Alzheimer's Story
a. Completely involved or absorbed; rapt: lost in thought. b. Bewildered or confused: I'm lostcan you start over?
Being lost can be a frightening thing to anyone, young, middle age or the elderly. One may be be Lost in Love, or Lost in Religion. or Lost in desires. There are many ways of becoming Lost.
She was just plain lost! In as much as she didn't know where she was , it was mid-December, actually Christmas Day and she remembered she needed one more gift for her new friend, the man she was now having breakfast with everyday, the man whose feet and legs she would rub because they ached, the man who made her feel like a woman again.
It was very early in the morning and she hadn't slept well, just waiting for some day light so she could walk to the J.C.Penney store a few blocks away. She had been in there a few days ago and spotted a nice sweater she thought he might like. but wasn't really sure of his size.
Living in an Assisted Living Facility she was able to come and go as she pleased, though they tried to keep each resident's where about's logged in and out of the register book. Providing the residents remembered to sign it. It was located right beside the front desk, making it a bit easier to watch these demented elderly folks as they would come and go.
She bundled herself up with her coat, gloves, scarf and grabbed her purse, she had a mission and wanted to get it done before he came to pick her up for breakfast. Since it was Christmas and a fine meal was planned she hurried out the door, not even thinking about the book she was supposed to sign in and out of.
Brrrr...it was cold, very early in the morning and still a bit dark. She was a good walker so she hurried her steps to the store. She arrived a bit out of breath and very excited, only to find the store was "Closed for Christmas Day". "oh dear" the thought ran through her head."Where do I go now"? She looked around and saw lights across the street so she headed that way. As she walked up to this new store she found it also "Closed for Christmas Day". "Oh dear, where do I go now"? She knew there must be some stores open, she just had to find one, he would just love the sweater, and it was the only thing she wanted to give him.
It wasn't long before she realized she didn't know which way to turn anymore, and she began to cry. She just stopped at a corner and stood there in a dazed, shivering stance.
Her daughter received a phone call from the Assisted Living Home, and they told her they couldn't find her Mother, they had searched every room only to realize she was truly missing. The daughter told them she would be right there!! She hung up the phone with tears and fright in her eyes and dressed quickly and was on her way.
The policeman was on his daily route and drove past this lady standing at the corner, shivering and looking a bit forlorn. He turned around and stopped to question her. He asked her if she was lost and she said "Yes I am , sir" "Where do you live ? Ma'm" he asked. She gave him an address , he put her in the car and took her home , or so he thought.
There were many cars parked in front of this house, so he left her in the police car and went to the door of the house and knocked. A woman opened the door and was surprised to see him there at this time of day. He explained he found this woman standing on the street corner and she said she lived here. The owner of the Condo asked what her name was, and informed him they had bought the condo from her 3 years ago, and that she didn't live here anymore.
The policeman thanked her and went back to the his patrol car, only to find the lost woman gone!!! He radioed into headquarters what information he had and a description of the woman , he began searching again, knowing she couldn't have wondered far in such a short time. He did find her a couple of blocks away , picked her up again and took her to the Police Station.
This being a small town he began to question her about her name and birth-date, which she answered without hesitation. All the officers wife's had brought in some goodies for their husbands,being it was Christmas, and they offered her some. Readily she excepted the pie, it was her favorite, along with a nice hot cup of coffee. He was a young handsome policeman and very gentle and she took to him immediately.
One thing was she did not have any kind of Identification on her, which really she did have, but just always emptied her purse ,usually forgetting to put important things like that back in it. The policeman went to the phone book and searched for the Assisted Living homes in town, calling each one to see if she was a resident there.
About the time he connected with the home she lived in, her daughter arrived and was frantic. Asking questions. "How could you let her get away!" "What have you done to find her!" "What do we do next!" "Where is my Mother!" Drawing a crowd and making everyone aware of the fact someone was lost. They tried to calm her down and assured her the police had found her and she was on her way back. When they arrived her Mother told the handsome Policeman to come back and visit her anytime, and thanked him for the pie and coffee. Simply un-aware of all that had gone on and smiled at her daughter. "Merry Christmas" she said.
A lesson well learned and her daughter was informed about a GPS band that could be worn around the wrist or the ankle and if she ever wondered off again they could locate her in 10 minutes time. Needless to say when the Holiday was over, the band was placed on her ankle, it was a safety measure and though she didn't get Lost ever again, it was a big relief for her family, knowing she was wearing it. It was water proof and the battery was checked every 5 weeks by the Police to make sure it was working and replaced often.
A reminder to all families dealing with Alzheimer's loved one's, they can be quick, and find a way out no matter how much you try to keep them in. In our own denial of this disease, we need to learn all we can, and support groups are so helpfull.
It wasn't long after this that she was placed in an Alzheimer's Facility, where she could not leave on her own.