Two years ago my dad wandered off for the first time since being diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. He left the house in the middle of the night while my mom was still sleeping. Thankfully, he was wearing his MedicAlert bracelet, and was safely reunited with my mom within about an hour of leaving the house.
He is 68 years old and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s eight years ago. Over the past few years, the disease has slowly progressed and he now needs to have someone with him at all times.
This past Christmas, my wife and I decided to take our two teenage daughters along with my parents to our cabin to enjoy some relaxing time away.
During our short getaway to the mountains, we experienced another frightening event when my dad wandered off yet again.
One night while at the cabin, we decided to visit by the fire place on the back deck. My dad was tired so he we thought it best for him to stay inside and rest.
About 45 minutes later, my wife went inside to check on him. When she didn’t see him in the room, she immediately began to check the cabin. Within moments, we realized we were reliving the frightening event that had happened not long before.
We called 911 and explained his situation. It was cold and there was fresh snow on the ground from the snowfall earlier that day, and we knew he wasn’t dressed to be outside in the 30 degree weather. As we drove around for a bit, the only light we had was that from our headlights, and the light coming from inside occupied cabins.
After getting about a mile up the road, we received a call from MedicAlert. They first told us that day was okay and unharmed. They then let us know the address to where he was. We were told that a man rolling his trash cans down the driveway noticed dad walking by. We don’t know exactly when he left our cabin, but in that short period of time, he had passed 3 cabins while wandering up the street.
The Good Samaritan figured something was wrong when seeing an older man walking at night in the snow wearing only slippers, flannel pajama pants and a t-shirt. My dad had become disoriented and didn’t know where he was.
Thankfully, he looked down and saw dad’s MedicAlert + Safe Return bracelet which reads “Memory Impaired- My name is Jack, Nut Allergy.”
The neighbor had brought him in his home and called MedicAlert. If not for his bracelet, I can’t imagine what could have happened to my dad if he had continued wandering in the freezing weather.