The Emergency Response Guide:When a Senior Goes Missing
Having an aged parent to look after can be a big responsibility. But this responsibility wouldn’t seem so large if your parent would stay put at home. Often, unthinkingly, or because they are victims of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, they aren’t in control of themselves and wander away from home.
If you’re lucky, you could find them about a mile or so from your home, else you need to call for help from the police or private investigators, neighbours or bloodhounds.
Why do seniors wander away?
Today, about 13% of American population is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. One terrible fall-out of this mental condition is the habit of wandering from one’s place of stay. It is now believed that this disease causes one to wander.
When one wanders, it might be purposeful as if wanting to explore a new place, or mindless walking. He may be aware that he’s wandering and therefore trying to escape from his present location or he may be unaware of his actions and meanders away without informing anyone.
What to do if your senior relative goes missing
Search your home thoroughly: If a senior relative suddenly goes missing, don’t waste time. Considering he has a problem like dementia, you could perhaps find him in your neighbourhood, if he already hasn’t wandered away. So, begin by looking in all parts of your home, even in closets and your backyard.
Think of all the places he may be in: Where could he have gone? Turn out your mind to think of all the places he could have gone to. Perhaps, the neighbourhood store, post office, bar, park, waterfront? Look around you for about 15 minutes, not more.
Call 911: Ring 911 and fill out a missing person’s report. Mention in the form that he suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and is a senior. For seniors, the police don’t need to wait for 24 hours before beginning to look for such missing people.
File a missing person’s report at the police station: You needn’t wait 24 hours to file a police complaint. Take along all possible details of your missing senior, including a photo.
Hand over a photo and his medication list: Keep a photograph of the missing person with you and jot down all the medication he takes. Share this information with the police along with details like when you last saw him and where, and the clothes he had worn.
Any nickname he responds to? If he is better-known by a nickname or pet name, let the police know that too, as he would most likely respond to that.
Go MissingSeniorNetwork.com to activate it: By doing this, you give yourself one more avenue of search personnel to locate your missing person. From this site, you will learn how to inform your family, friends and colleagues of the person who’s missing.
Ring nearby hospitals and jails
Or, better still, visit them so that you can show them a photo of your missing person and they can activate the search in your presence. You can also click and look up PrisonRoster to see if your loved one is in jail for perhaps a small misdemeanour.
Reach out to family and friends
It would be difficult for you to call each of your family members or circle of friends to inform them of this happening and to solicit their help. So, put out a word on Facebook with your missing person’s photo and tell everyone how worried you are at not being able to find him. If they have any info on him, they could call you.
Does your senior have a social media account he checks frequently? If he follows all that happens on a favourite social media network, get on to it and see when he last accessed it and what his location at that time was. Else, use TruthFinder to check out his accounts on various social media platforms.
You can also get on to a social media platform called Nextdoor, meant entirely for communities. Upload his photo with his height, weight, etc and any distinguishing marks. With these details, someone might be able to locate him for you.
No matter how long it takes or how worried you may be, keep calm. It doesn’t pay to yell at people who are trying to help you. After all, it’s not easy to find one aged person among millions of others. Still, they may be successful, but it takes time. So, keep calm and be positive. Your senior missing person may be on his way home. You never know.
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