Friday 18 June 2021

Losing A Loved One

It was so good to share Brooke's story a couple of days ago. Our little village mentioned in the local media in a positive way. But within hours another story was bringing Swanton Morley into the headlines again, this time in a sad way. 

Bob was standing at the kitchen sink when he saw police cars in the close, and coppers going door-to-door. Two were approaching Cornerstones . It appeared that an 87 year old lady, suffering from dementia, had gone missing from the Care Home [very close to us, just by the medical centre] The officers asked if they could search our little back garden. Of course... [I have no idea what they thought of the five bicycles, summerhouse stacked with boxes, and other stuff temporarily leaning against the wall under a large tarp] Other police were searching adjacent gardens. 

"Lowland Search and Rescue" sent in a team, and other folk from the village joined them. Grateful thanks to all who helped. Sadly the lady was found, on ground beside a lane just outside the village. It was 48 hours after her disappearance, and she had died. A sad story indeed

I said to Bob "if I ever get dementia, fit me with GPS tracker!". I didn't realise that these are already 'a thing'. This company markets them. [other models available] There are 850k people in Britain who are living with dementia, and 6 out of 10 will develop "wandering" behaviour. Obviously prevention is safer than a search - but needs to be balanced with personal freedom, and still enjoying life.  This sort of device brings so much peace of mind to family and carers. A tracker cannot guarantee absolute safety but would be a help. 

The GPS trackers company mentioned above has really practical advice, both about reducing risk, and organising an effective search, do have a look. I am so sad for Margaret's family and friends. 

Years ago [pre mobile phones] I was driving home to Kirby Muxloe late at night, and passed an old lady on the quiet road out of the village, apparently wearing just a nightie. I stopped and asked if she was OK. She said, distractedly that she was going to her sister's house. As I was less than a mile from home, I fetched Bob. He took me back to her and then alerted the police. I remember she was scared but let me walk with her. It would have been wrong to force her into a car. Her conversation was "away with the fairies" as they say. All was well in the end, the police established who she was [she lived independently in a warden-assisted scheme close by] But if I'd not driven past, who knows where she'd have ended up? 

Lockdown has taken its toll on the mental health of our nation - especially the frail, elderly folk who cannot access the benefits of contact-through-technology. 

The answer to the ancient question "Am I my brother's keeper?" remains a resounding YES , especially when our brothers and sisters are unable to fully care for themselves. 

Praying this week for Margaret's family, the Care Home staff and all affected by this tragedy. 


  1. Oh that is very sad indeed! Dementia is such a cruel disease. My grandma (Dad's dad) had Alzheimer's from when we were quite young and it was horrible for my Grandpa and Dad. The GPS trackers are a super idea!

  2. A sad story and even more sadly not an unusual one, Many years ago there was a similar tragedy near the smallholding when a man went missing from the care home in the village - he too had died but many miles away on the big stretches of heathland and wasn't found for weeks.
    I think more research is now being done for causes of Dementia like happened for cancer research, hope it's successful

    1. I suppose in rural areas, it is easier for people to wander away into fields and heathland where there are fewer folk about who can get them to safety. As a higher proportion of the population is ageing now, I imagine there will be pressure for more research into such diseases. I have such respect for those who love and care for these people.

  3. Poor lady, and poor family too. So sad.

  4. So sad. I live next to a residential home.

  5. Very sad and a great sorrow for the family. Years ago an elderly friend wandered away from his house in the night and was found in a snowbank. Fortunately he was not in too bad shape and recovered in hospital. GPS trackers are a great idea.

  6. So very sad. We often have "silver alert" texts pop up on our phones asking people to be on the look out for seniors with dementia that have wandered off.

  7. That's a very sad story. The GPS trackers are a good idea.


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