There I was, slogging my way home, grumbling in my head about how tired I was, what a long way it was, how I wished there was a place to rest, blah,blah,blah. Ahead of me on the next corner I noticed an elderly man standing out in the road looking around. He had a cane and was carrying his jacket and he moved back on to the sidewalk and looked around some more. By that time I was up to where he was.
“Did you get turned around?” I asked him, hoping he lived close by.
Well he knew where he was supposed to be but not where he was. As we stopped and tried to figure out the address of where he lived, the mosquitoes started to swarm us both. He pulled out his wallet and slowly rifled through it looking for something with an address. He wore a name tag which was helpful, but no address was to be found.
Enter the smart phone. The damn thing has been more trouble than it is worth since I got it, but here, swarmed by nasty biting insects with an elderly man who needed to find his way home, it suddenly leaped into usefulness. Browser actually worked, thank the google gods, to find his residence and a phone number.
I called. I have a client of yours’ off a few blocks from home can you send someone out to meet us? Well no, they couldn’t. The manager was not there and there was only two staff in the residence. Two. How many residents do you think live in that 4 story senior’s residence?
We are walking back towards the residence I told them, you need to send someone out to meet us as we walk there.
And so, along the way we meet one of the staff. Likely from the kitchen by the looks of her uniform. He doesn’t recognize her but she recognizes him. They didn’t know where he had gone because he hadn’t signed out. How long was he gone? No clue, but the whole incident gave me the shivers.
The elderly get placed in a facility that supposedly provides care of varying levels for them. Yet most often they just need someone to watch out for them, to help them remain independent and active. Smart of him to get out and go for a walk, but when the houses all look the same and it is easy to get turned around, you just need a little help along the way.
So back he goes to the facility, where I wonder what level of care he is provided. Will they restrict him because they have no staff, from his walks to Whyte Ave? Will they recommend he get placed in a more secure environment? Will he now lose more independence and abilities?
I worry for our elderly.