Senior program hopes for many safe returns

By PHILIP CASE State Journal Columnist Published:

There's little more frightening than being lost.

While we adults feel a bit disconcerted until we're able to reorient ourselves, that feeling can become panic if we don't find familiar faces of landmarks quickly.

For children separated from parents ... whether in a supermarket or a shopping mall ... panic comes almost immediately as they frantically search for familiarity in a world often twice their height, where nothing looks friendly.

And there are those in our society, most often our elderly, who get lost. Typically they wander away into the outdoors, perhaps under-clothed for the weather, just walking with no destination in mind.

These are lost ... but don't know they're lost; they're our mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, relatives and friends with some sort of memory impairment. Nowadays they are usually classified as having "Alzheimer's," whether that's medically accurate or not it reflects some sort of dementia.

If not found and offered care quickly, they can suffer a variety of fates - none pleasant.

A program that's now available for caregivers of those who suffer memory impairments can help avoid the heartbreak of "losing" someone. It's had great success so far nationally, and it's coming to Frankfort this week.

It's called "Safe Return," sponsored by the Alzheimer's Association. A registration event is set for Thursday, Feb. 6, at the Mills-Yount Senior Center, 202 Medical Heights Drive. Two times will be available, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and 5-7. The registration process takes less than half an hour and Alzheimer's Association representatives will be present to assist with the process.

For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.

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