"Silver Alert: MISSING DAD!!! "

Well, my Dad and Mom BOTH have dementia.


Yesterday, Dad  tried to call his brother, Kelly Fitzpatrick, and instead called me, his daughter. Named after my Dad's brother, I am also named Kelly FItzpatrick. When Dad realized his mistake, he talked with me for almost a half an hour anyway. Dad told me he had had a very bad fall on his last walk, the day before yesterday. He said he ripped his trousers and had skinned his knee almost bad enough for stitches. He proudly told me he had cleaned it himself before he turned himself in to the nurses' station. He said he was annoyed that the nurses cleaned it again and measured the wound so they could watch it heal over time. He also proudly told me Mom now actually gets out of bed sometimes.



The caregivers at the facility have had constant problems convincing my Dad to stop taking his walks and to take the shuttle instead. Dad does not have a GPS locator bracelet. A cell phone would have a built-in GPS, but Dad's memory is too poor to remember how to use a cell, so he does not even own one.





Today, my 88 year old  Dad left their assisted living facility in Northern Virginia very early this morning, just after nine a.m.  He signed out that he was going to get coffee and go shopping.



Hours later I got a call at work in Oregon that my Dad was MISSING !!


The police put out a "Silver Alert." The police had bloodhound teams and police helicopters with infared equipment searching the woods Dad always walks while searching for fox and deer. They also searched the ditches and sideroads along the freeway where he always walks to the store to get things for Mom. The facility cameras confirmed the time Dad left and showed that he had been wearing a jacket, hat, gloves - and even his glasses. It was very cold out, just days before Christmas.



I called my Mom in Virginia to help her stay calm. Mom told me that when Dad would finally be found, that Dad would be very angry to hear that everyone was upset and  looking for him. Mom sounded as clear as she had in the old days before her dementia.


Mom's sister,  Aunt Terry, arrived to sit with her, so Mom got motivated enough to get out of bed for once. Aunt Terry took her down to the cafeteria in her wheelchair and they ate while they waited for news from the police.


My poor brother left work in downtown DC to seach culverts and Dad's favorite walking routes.


My other brother in Peru packed his bag and an Embassy driver arrived to take him to the airport for a supersonic flight home.


Dad's credit cards were traced and the police discovered that Dad had had coffee at McDonald's around lunchtime.


Mom had told me there was nothing to worry about until it got dark and much colder. It had been dark and much colder for hours now, and I was powerless and frantic. I trawled the internet for DC-area tv news editors' phone numbers. I pestered my brother on the ground at the scene to pester the police to put the 'Silver Alert' on the 5 pm Evening News.  A recent photo of Dad was found and being prepared to release to the press with Dad's description.


Then, eleven hours after Dad went missing, Mom turned out to be right = Dad was found safe this evening  - SHOPPING AT MACY's!!!!!


Dad did not know which busses and trains he had taken to get to Macy's. He did not know exactly how many kind strangers had directed him to the numerous busses and various trains he took to Macys'. He did not know which city he was in or which Macy's he was in. Dad did not think he had been missing at all and was VERY annoyed about all the concern.


All I know is:  Macy's needs to be CLOSED to ALL 88-year old Dads with dementia who were bald red-headed Army Ranger Colonels who have the WHOLE DC-area searching for them with bloodhounds and infared helicopters and sons and daughters.....even if the Dads DO sign out that they are just going out for coffee and shopping........  AAARRRGGGHHHHH!!!!




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