Senior Awareness During Holiday Season
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- On Thanksgiving Day, Patricia Osberg went on a walk, but due to her Alzheimer's condition, she never returned home.
"With her Dementia, or Alzheimer's, she really has a challenge finding her way back home," said Osberg's daughter Leah Lyon.
After 24 hours of being lost in below freezing temperatures, search and rescue crews found Osberg alive but with an injured shoulder and hypothermia.
"As the hours linger on, in those cold temperatures, the chance of good results drop down dramatically," said Warren Gore, volunteer with Search and Rescue.
Many don't realize that this time of year can be very dangerous for seniors.
Officials say it's best to have the elderly wear some form of device that tracks their location if they have tendencies of wondering off.
"All residents have a safety pendant. If they ever need help they can push their pendant and it has a locating device, which tells us exactly where in the building or around outside the building they are," said Timindra Bowersock, supervisor of the care center at The Commons.
Some tips include always making sure your loved one is never alone, especially when they're headed out for a walk.
"We have extra staff that will go with them, if they would like to go outside," said Bowersock.
Joining support groups to learn how to react to a loved one developing signs of Alzheimer's is also recommended.
"We have an Alzheimer's and dementia support group for family members so they can learn how to cope with that. Also, to help remember that it's not their parents or loved ones fault that they
don't remember [them],"said Bowersock.
Caregivers play an important role in senior safety, but they say it's all about making the elderly feel like they're at home.
"It's nice to know you can make someone feel comfortable, and help them with things they can't do on their own anymore," said Bowersock.