Following on from yesterday’s post Mobile telephony and the reaction to ICE numbers, my mind went into overdrive last night…
- By law, all dogs need to be chipped before you can buy a dog licence. These microchips are inserted under the skin along the spine area with details of the dog and the owner. If a dog is found wandering, any vet can read the chip to help locate the owner.
- Prisoners who are considered a danger to the public, can be tagged when paroled or waiting for a case to go to court.
- Trolleys at supermarkets now have tags that prevent them from removal outside the boundary of the shop car park.
Surely we can do something like that to help keep track of vulnerable Alzheimer’s patients. I have know of many cases of these patients wandering.
Annie, an elderly widow, was found wandering up the street of her small town, late one wet and blustery evening. She had rollers in her hair (usual for a Saturday night), the apron she wore on a daily basis while doing household chores and her slippers. She did have her Sunday Best cardigan on over the apron and a large handbag over her arm, it contained only the church envelope with her weekly contribution. Thankfully she was found by someone who recognised her, but it took them time to convince her that it was not time for Sunday church service and to turn her round and bring her home.
Robert, was a widower and when it became unsafe to live alone, his daughter arranged for him to stay in an Abbeyfield house local to her. It was many miles away from where he had lived all his married life. A couple of times he went walk about, but was found before he ventured too far. One day he was not found in time. Robert went ‘walkies’ one bright morning and was found about twelve hours later, on a pavement not far from his old home, a victim of a fatal hit and run motor accident.
Then there was the sad tale of Peggy Mangan, 65, who suffered from Alzheimer’s. Peggy took her faithful dog Casper for a walk and never came home. I wrote about her in an earlier LBC post Ego,
Surely, if we have ways of tracking dogs, prisoners and supermarket trolleys…..
Alzheimer patients are more important and worth protecting from themselves, if not from accidents or lonely deaths, and their families from unnecessary heartache!
Thankfully, I don’t know anyone with Alzheimer. I know it can be absolutely awful for the families and then to have the loved one wander away….
Tagging should probably be an option. It would probably be quite controversial, though.
Mike, I am not thinking of compulsory tagging, more an option to save heartache.
There are tracking devices available:
Nancy, that is a very interesting link.
There are tracking devices in use here too. Unfortunately the patients think that it is a nuisance and remove them. I am yet to come across an embedded one. I wonder if the medical profession will permit that.
Ramana, an embedded tag is not what I’m thinking about, it was more by way of example of how we care for dogs and trolleys, while vulnerable ill people can wander off in their confusion.
I think people have an ethical problem with treating sick people like dogs or criminals. But I think it’s one that should be overcome. Good idea.
I think I put my point over badly, I meant we seem to take more care of dogs, prisoners and shopping trolleys, than we do of vulnerable adults.
I sat next to a woman at the opera who told me she has dementia. She was 79 and still drove her car, believe it or not. She said that she often forgot where she lived and would stop her car a few blocks away from her house and wait until a relative found her. Crazy, huh?
gigi, some people do not realise that they are a hazard behind the wheel not alone to themselves but to other road users and pedestrians.
One of my great-aunts would wander around in her underwear in the middle of the night and the gardai would watch out for her and bring her home until the heart-breaking decision was made to put her into a carehome. she fought it with venom and abuse. It is difficult. I’ve seen Alzheimers up far too close and personal but micro-chipping might be a solution, tags can be torn off. Invasion of privacy is nudder matter…but perhaps the decisions about carehomes are made fat too late has been my observation.
I agree with you, WWW. Change of routine and strange places only add to the confusion and frustration for the patients. They seem to go back in mind to the places they felt most comfortable. I remember one man who did not recognise his family, if they greeted him with “Hello dad. How are you today?” there was no sign of recognition or answer. If they greeted him with “How is George today?” He would tell them all about George and what he did that day, as if George was another person!
My sis-in-law with Alzheimer’s was fitted with a bracelet she couldn’t remove when she hit the “wandering” stage. She hated it and tried to remove it all the time. But once reported missing the local police would jump into action and tune in on her signal. If they couldn’t find her within 15 minutes they put a light plane in the air to widen the search area.
It’s surprising how far an elder can go in half an hour. Her bracelet was used only once, when she managed to climb on a step stool to unlock the latch placed high on the door, unlatch the gate and get away after my brother dozed off in his chair one night. The police found her within a few minutes after brother realized she was gone. She was looking for the children, because it was dark and none of them had come home yet. Alzheimer’s is such a heart-breaking disease. It took both of them from us, because he wouldn’t let anyone else care for her, and shortly after she died he followed.
The mind always seems to regress to earlier times. I suppose she was back at a time when the children were young and she was caring for them.
Our phones can be tracked..so if we are kidnapped we can be found..or at least the phone can be found.
Yes, they can be tracked, but not all Alzheimer’s patients carry one.
I got your point very clearly, I think. I agree. Neither of us is thinking compulsory, but it would be a safeguarding. Here in the U.S. the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) would fight it tooth and nail because the person afflicted with Alzheimer’s would be deemed unable to give consent (and be of sound mind), but I’d personally be very much in favor of such an idea when a family begins to sense that they could actually lose their loved one. One of my closest friends went through a couple of years of sheer terror when her father would literally disappear for hours on end in our busy metropolis. He had early staged Alzheimer’s and would just take off walking. Once with a gun he had hidden! Dear God! I couldn’t even imagine how frightened I’d be if this were my parent or loved one. A chip is an easy solution…but we don’t tend to go for sensible, do we? *sigh*
The idea of tagging that I suggest is for that very reason – the person afflicted with Alzheimer’s would not be of sound mind & at a high risk of wandering off. It would have to be a joint decision between the medical team and those charged with the every day care of the patient.
What is the alternative… drugging the patients to keep them quiet and subdued?