Story told by daughter of a MedicAlert° + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return° Member (Names and photo have been changed to protect member privacy)
My mother Jane is now 86 years old and has been living with Alzheimer’s for 15 years. She and my father Tom continue to enjoy living an active lifestyle involving a weekly routine of going to the gym, spending time with family and traveling several times per year. Soon after my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, my dad made the decision to enroll her as a MedicAlert° + Alzheimer's Association Safe Return° member due to her frequent tendency to wander.
Last February, they departed on what I believe was their tenth cruise to Mexico. While ported in downtown Puerto Vallerta; my dad became distracted for a few moments, turning his attention away from my mom.
In the meantime, she boarded a bus that was next to them. When he turned around she was gone. The bus traveled for 40 miles into a very small town in Mexico; where she quickly became very unaware of her surroundings.
A Good Samaritan soon realized my mom was disoriented and immediately contacted the police department. Fortunately they recognized her MedicAlert Alzheimer's ID bracelet and contacted a MedicAlert operator.
The operator contacted me immediately. I was then able to contact the cruise ship, and they in turn sent a representative to pick up my mom. I thankfully was also able to notify the cruise ship that my dad was looking for her, and if he returned to the ship, they should let him know she was on her way.
All of these events occurred over a three hour period. Had my mother not had her MedicAlert ID bracelet on, I have no doubt that my parents would never have made it back to the ship on time. The thought of my mother wandering around in a strange city, and in a foreign country is terrifying and gives me nightmares.
I cannot bring myself to think what could have happened to them had MedicAlert not been there for us. The operator was not only compassionate, responsive, and very knowledgeable; she also kept in touch with me until she knew the situation was resolved and my parents were safely reunited on the ship.
Thank you, thank you, thank you MedicAlert!