I was invited to speak in Washington DC with the support of Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI). My topic was to discuss “Changing the Face of Dementia: The Stigma”.
While flying from Salt Lake City to DC, across from me was a gentlemen deeply involved in his reading materials. On our descent he asked me why I was going to DC, and I answered that it was to speak about Alzheimer’s and dementia. That engaged us in a brief but very emotional conversation.
He was a pilot on his way home. He shared that his father had died relatively young at 70 years old of Alzheimer’s in a tragic accident. His father was under the care of his mother and brother. One afternoon they thought he was resting peacefully in his bed for an afternoon nap and his mother and brother resumed their everyday tasks as they have done so many days before.
But this day was different. His father had decided to leave the house as he had so many days before his Alzheimer’s. They realized it too late – he was nowhere to be found. They quickly called the police and the search began.
Where they thought he would have walked, he had had – as they could not find him..The police searched for him for two days. The family searched for him for years.
Two years later his glasses and a slipper were found in a different direction than they had focused their search. He had apparently stumbled and fallen, and then he had died from the elements and his inability due to Alzheimer’s to save himself.
The irony is that had he been a missing child, there could have been an Amber Alert and more people brought into the search.
How do you feel about this – it may have saved this man’s life.
The next day at the conference, I recounted this true and very disturbing story in hope of Changing the Face of Dementia. Please let me know what you think. Thank you!
Jane Snyder – Let’s Solve It . . . Together!