Notes from a caregiver’s diary… Sometimes you get a wake-up call!

4. Image-penguin-cymbalThere’s lots of things we ought to do – our “woulda-shoulda-coulda” list. If you’re lucky, you get a wake-up call and realize what’s really important before it’s too late!

My wake-up call came on a Wednesday morning at 5:36 am. First, my home phone rang and startled me out of a deep sleep. It took a few seconds to get my bearings and I missed the call. Checking my voice mail, I heard a message from my Mum.

It was a simple message left in a rather calm voice, “Your Dad walked out on us this morning at 5:00 am”. Simple and to the point! When I called back, Mary was still calm as we figured out an action plan. She would call the Police; I would drive to their house to figure out the next steps.

In the 15 minutes it took to drive to my parent’s house, my mind was racing. Of course, I checked out every single person who walked by. Too short! Too fast! Too colourful!

When I arrived at the house, Mary was waiting at the front door and the kettle had boiled.  In our family, a cup of tea always puts things in perspective.

Within minutes of my arrival, two Police Officers arrived and began their “protocol”. They asked questions, wrote in their books and searched the house – inside and out. There was a feeling of calm in the face of this disaster and it helped all of us to maintain focus.

It was the non-answers to the questions which proved to be the “wake-up call” we needed. Our answers were a lot of “woulda, shoulda, coulda’s”

Was Len’s information on file with the Alzheimer Safely Home Register? NO, but we were going to call! Did we have a recent photo? We thought so, but didn’t know quite where it was! Did Len have any identification with him? No, but we were going to get him an ID bracelet for his birthday. Lots of  very good questions were met with not such good answers.

Fortunately, this story had a happy ending. A wonderful nurse saw Len walking on a major street and offered him a lift to a Long Term Care residence. Once there, the Police were called and they arrived and delivered Len safely home.

Len got out of the Police cruiser, walked up the stairs to the front door and unflappably sat down in his favourite chair to enjoy his cup of tea. This nerve-wracking incident was over in less than 2 hours; now we had work to do.

  1. Complete the application for the Alzheimer Safely Home
  2. Order Len’s ID bracelet.
  3. Locate an updated photo
  4. Thank our lucky stars for this wake-up call and a second chance to get it right!

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TCS-LOGO without Saint Elizabeth

Ontario Science Centre

FRIDAY, MAY 6, 2016

10 am – 5 pm