Feb 1, 2012

Alzheimer's Patient Lost, Wanders 1,500 Miles from Home

How did this Alzheimer's patient get lost and travel 1,500 miles? How did this Alzheimer's patient get home?

Alzheimer's Reading Room

Good Samaritan
by Rembrandt
This potentially horrific story had a happy ending.

If you are sick and tired of reading all the negative on the front page of the newspaper, and tired of listening to politicians "tear each other down", read this.

The bottom line on this story, two wonderful police officers went "above and beyond the call of duty".

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Here is the cliff notes version of this story:
  • An unnamed man suffering from Alzheimer's managed to get on a bus in Virginia and traveled to Denver, Colorado.
  • Someone discovers the man who at this point is disoriented, out of cash, and unable to cash a check.
  • Next, police officer Hana Ruiz comes on to the scene.
  • Police finally figure out by using the man's checkbook, who he is, and are then able to contact his caregiver through the bank.
  • Money is wired to buy him a plane ticket home.
  • Happy ending right? Not yet.

  • Officer Ruiz dips into her own pocket to buy him food, and get him a place to stay.
  • The next morning Officer Ruiz asks Officer Rob Martinez to help get the man dressed and to the airport on time. Understandable.
  • Officer Martinez notices that the man's cloths are in poor condition so he buys him new cloths. Officer Martinez also dips into his own pocket to do this.
  • They take the man to the airport.
  • Happy ending right?
  • Not exactly, the man for an unknown reasons can't get on the plane.

  • Officer Ruiz dips into her own pocket to buy the man a bus ticket home.
  • She then finds someone to accompany him home. Whew, great idea. If not this story would probably have a part 2,3, and 4.
  • Finally, the two officers use their own money to make sure the man has food for the long trip home; and then, ensured that his caseworker was waiting to pick him up in Virginia.
Officers Ruiz and Martinez will receive the Citizens Appreciate Police Award

given by a nonprofit group that is independent from the police department.

The ceremony will be at the District 1 Police Station community room at 1311 W. 46th Ave, Denver, Colorado. This is where you could contact them if you care to send a note, or chip in five bucks to help defer their out of pocket costs.

Two wonderful people.

Think your Alzheimer's patient won't wander? Well, they never wander until the first time. 60 percent of Alzheimer's patients wander.

The only remaining question, how many Alzheimer's wanderers will be lucky enough to be cared for by two people like Hana Ruiz or Rob Martinez?

Source: Two Denver officers lauded for aiding Virginia man with Alzheimer's, Google

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Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room