A Much Needed Reality Check

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Hello to you, I hope this message finds you well.

 

One of my team members, Loretta and I went to the bank on Danforth Avenue. As we were approaching to park, there was an elderly lady standing in the middle of the parking lot. She signaled to me. I assumed she wanted to know which way I was going, so I signaled back to her that I wanted to go where she was standing. She began walking to the car, so I pulled down my window.

“Hello, how can we help?” Loretta and I said.

The elderly lady asked if we could take her home. She told us that she lives in Journal Square. I asked her how she got here. She said that a friend of hers dropped her off. She then repeated, “May I have a ride home?” It seemed as though she did not know where her friend was. I was concerned, so I said yes.

I finally parked and had her sit in the car with Loretta, while I went to the bank. I finished and when I returned the woman asked again, “Are you going to take me home?” She gave me the name of the street, but not the number. At this point, I knew something was wrong. It had to be either Dementia or Alzheimer’s.

As I was driving, I could tell she was confused as she kept saying, “Are you going to take me home?” She began giving me different directions, until she couldn’t remember her street name anymore. She also was talking about how she was away from home for two weekends and her mother was waiting for her to return.

I pulled over and asked her if she had any ID. She said no. I replied, “Please check your pockets as you may have some ID on you.” After searching, we didn’t find any ID. At this point, I whispered to Loretta, “I’m going to take her to the police.”

“You have to be careful as there are strangers out here and I don’t want you to get hurt by getting into a stranger’s car,” I said to the elderly woman. I told her Loretta and I were not strangers; we just wanted to help her. I also told her that she shouldn’t come outside without anyone, so that she would never get lost.

We began driving again when the elderly woman said, “Where we were going? Are you taking me home?” I did not want to scare her, so I said to her, “I am trying to find your house.” She gave us a number to call, but the number was disconnected.

I parked in front of the police precinct and told the elderly woman that we were going to take her to the police to get help. I decided not to tell her while we were driving, as to not agitate her. She was already upset with herself because she could not remember where she lived.

After parking, I told the elderly woman that we were at the precinct to get help. She asked if Loretta and I were going to leave her and we both said, no. “We are going to stay with you until we get help,” we explained. The elderly woman said that she would stay in the car, but I told her we were going to go into the precinct with her.

When we got out of the car, I looked down and saw that the elderly woman was wearing slippers. Her feet were wet, all the way up to her pants. Loretta placed the umbrella over her head and we held her like bookends. As we stood waiting for the cars to pass in order to cross the street, a police officer saw us. At first, I thought the cop was going to tell me I was parked illegally, which I was. At that point, my main concern was to get this elderly woman out of the cold and into a safe place. But, then I looked at the police officer’s face and saw a different kind of look. Her eyes gave a familiar stare to the elderly woman. I knew at that moment the police office must have known who she was.

We waited for the officer to come across the street.

“Did you get her from Danforth?” the officer asked.

“Yes,” I said.

“I was about to go and get her,” the officer explained. Then, the officer started talking to the elderly woman. The elderly woman turned to us and said, “Are you going to leave me?”

“We are going to leave you with the police officer and she will ensure that you get home,” I said to the elderly woman. “Remember what I told you, don’t get into cars with strangers and always have someone with you when you go outside.”

She gave both Loretta and I a hug and a big smile. The police officer told us the elderly woman made her way from Kearny and then thanked us for bringing her to the police. At that point, I did not ask if she meant Kearny the city or the street, I was just happy she knew where the elderly woman lived.

Aside from the shock of finding an elderly woman with some sort of medical issue without anyone to help her, I was also surprised to find her outside in the pouring rain in the middle of November with only slippers to cover her feet!

Please, if you have an elderly loved one, check on them. Please don’t let them wander by themselves. If you can afford it, please get them a medical bracelet. This way, if your loved one wanders off, you can find out where he/she is or someone can contact you. Alzheimer’s and Dementia, or memory loss are real and very serious issues. More than five million Americans have Alzheimer’s today, according to recent statistics from the Alzheimer’s Association. Loretta and I are just so happy that the elderly woman is safe and sound. I want to thank the police officer for all of her help as well! God, thank you for placing Loretta and I in the right place at the right time…AMEN!


Angela V. McKnight, Founder & CEO

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