Wandering

Number 26151
Subject Diseases
Source InvestigateWest
State Wash.
Year 2013
Publication Date July 18-22, 2013
Summary Six in 10 people with Alzheimer’s disease will wander, and a quick rescue is critical: 60 percent of those who wander, if not found within 24 hours, are going to die. But in Washington, government belt-tightening has hindered efforts to better equip local law enforcement to handle missing-persons cases involving dementia, InvestigateWest learned. A first-ever analysis of media reports, search-and-rescue mission reports, and interviews with law enforcement by InvestigateWest found that at least ten seniors have died as a direct result of wandering in the last five years. In that group is Samuel Counts, 71, a father of 10 and a retired Vietnam War veteran whose case fueled this story’s narrative. The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office waited six full days before enlisting a helicopter in the search, a delay that goes against search-and-rescue experts’ guidelines when someone is endangered. Even as the number of people with Alzheimer’s increases dramatically, no public record is routinely created in Washington when wandering is a contributing factor to death, and no state agency keeps a tally of these cases. Wandering behavior is predictable and training for law enforcement is available, but here in Washington, it takes a tragedy for anyone to pay attention.
Category Contest Entry
Pages
Keywords alzheimers; disease
Related Links
Related Video
Contest Questionnaires Only members can download contest entry questionnaires! Log in to get access.
Ordering info Want to place an order? Email us or call us at 573-882-3364 (Stories are only available to members of IRE. For membership information, please refer to our membership page)