Diverse responses, networks of concern and support, problems like dementia and wandering

Thought I’d use this post to ramble about some things I’ve observed related to wandering adults and to share my thoughts on how diverse the responses and actions of people are, and how many of these responses together can form a network of support…. and my own response, of course 🙂

What does one do when one hears of an elder who has gone missing, most probably because of the confusion caused by dementia? At what threshold does concern become significant enough to act, and how do different people respond?

I’m not talking of people who begin criticizing the family for neglect, because that is not “help.” I’m not talking of persons who claim it is “karma” and something the family is destined to bear, and therefore don’t think of helping.

I’m talking of persons who are concerned.

I’m talking of all those persons who pause, feel that twinge in their heart, that sense of “ouch” when they hear of an elder who has gone missing. Persons who feel the family’s pain, and worry about the elder’s bewilderment and wellbeing. Maybe they feel this way because they have experienced wandering episodes with a parent or another relative or friend or the parent of a friend or neighbor, and can connect with the fear and agony. Or because they are anyway able to empathize and can imagine the horror of the situation. Or perhaps they are volunteers and committed to the cause of supporting elders and patients and all that. What do these persons do when they hear such news?

Most people would pause to read it, feel bad. Some would look carefully at the photograph, but I’m not sure how many would note down (and put in their wallet or handbag) the phone number to be called in case they spot the missing person, and I don’t know how many would remember the name of the person, or the particulars. Maybe if the elder has gone missing in the same city, they will be more alert, more ready to act.

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