Media at the scene where a 66 year old woman wandered and froze to death. Credit: Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

Last night, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, a 66 year woman who had been suffering from dementia froze to death because she wandered from her home and was not found in time.

That’s right…………..she froze to death.
According to The Globe and Mail, a Canadian news source, her husband stated that he noticed she wasn’t in her bed at about 2 a.m. but thought that she went to sleep on the sofa.  When she did not return an hour later, he went out to search for her but did not find her.  The article did not say that he called the police.
What the article did say was that the woman was just a block away from her home and could be heard  screaming by several neighbors.  One neighbor “even looked outside and noticed someone stumbling around”.   And police later found clawing marks on the screen door of a residence.
But did anyone intervene or call the police???  NO.  Not a single person called the police when a woman could be heard screaming at two in the morning.
I could go on about the degradation of a society that would not intervene but I’m not going to do that.
What I AM going to do is to implore any of you that have relatives or loved ones with any kind of dementia to obtain protection for them by utilizing some sort of safe return system.
I have talked about this before.  It’s a fact that more than 60% of those with dementia WILL wander at some point.  According to a close neighbor, the woman in this story had a documented incident a wandering  that necessitated police intervention in order to find her.
You cannot guarantee that when your loved one wanders, it will be during the daylight hours or on a warm night or that they will wander to a neighbor’s home or that youw ill be able to find them……….in time.
The Alzheimer’s Association has a Medic Alert + Safe Return program which utilizes an identification and a call center.  Their Medic Alert + Safe Return program does not utilize a GPS locating service but their Comfort Zone program uses a location based mapping service.   In Canada, the Alzheimer’s Association has the Safely Home  program.
Another example of one company that utilizes locating technology through the cellular network  is EmFinders which costs about $225.00 for the device and $25.00 per month for the service.
Here is a great article on different types of locating systems  available on the market.
My most sincere condolences to the family of this woman and especially to her husband, who as her caregiver and loved one, will surely be suffering.
Don’t let this happen to you or your loved one.  Be proactive and put wandering protection in place before it is too late.
Other programs with tracking technology include


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