Woman’s overnight death shines light on dangers of dementia

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    The death of a 66-year-old woman found frozen on a Scarborough sidewalk early Monday morning has shone a glaring light on the worst nightmare of many of those caring for the 500,000 Canadians living with dementia: the possibility that their wife or father could wander off in the night, lost and confused.
    Across the country, police blotters are filled with reports of missing elderly men and women, their disappearances reported to 911 by caregivers in the hopes that they will be found safe.
    Janice McCaffrey, a competitive race-walker from Calgary who has represented Canada in three Olympic Games, is embroiled in a desperate search for her 85-year-old father, Hugh Turner, who has been missing in Mesa, Ariz., since Christmas Eve.
    Although her father had not been diagnosed with dementia, several people reported spotting him in the neighborhood up to 24 hours after he was reported missing, suggesting that he was disoriented and unable to find his way home.
    “We’re of the mind that a cognitive event occurred to incapacitate him and make him wander off and be confused,” Ms. McCaffrey said from Arizona on Monday.
    Police, search parties and even a psychic group have been engaged in the prolonged search, which has plastered the city with 16,000 posters and is now focused on the surrounding desert.
    But Ms. McCaffrey wishes her father had been wearing some sort of tracking device or bracelet, which are gaining favor with the families of dementia patients.
    “I know it’s a terrible thing and people don’t want to lose their independence and be tagged, but if anybody’s got a family member that’s pretty senior, you’ve got to do something,” she said. “You don’t ever want to go through this.”
    Technology is playing an increasingly prominent role in the safety of those with cognitive impairments, and will likely become even more prominent as the population ages.

    Fuente: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health/dementia/womans-overnight-death-shines-light-on-dangers-of-dementia/article1873849/page1/

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