Growing old is no walk in the park. Your body starts to give out on you, aches and pains start sprouting up in places you weren't sure existed, your looks change as your skin starts to wrinkle and sag, and your hair starts thinning and/or graying. As if all of that wasn't bad enough, there's also the possibility of your mind starting to give out on you too, with dementia slowly taking away bits and pieces of your functionality.
My grandmother on my father's side had pretty bad dementia in her later years, and my wife's grandmother is starting to show the signs too. It's heartbreaking to see someone you loved finding themselves unable to remember their appointments, getting confused on what decade it is and how old they are, and much more. Suddenly, this person who you've always known to be smart and capable is unable to handle even basic things like taking a walk around the neighborhood.
Getting lost is a major concern for families of elderly people with dementia. When an 81-year-old woman with dementia was recently reported missing by her family to the Charles Country Sheriff's Office, nobody really knew what to expect. The sweet old lady usually took her walks up and down the driveway, but today she seemed to have decided to walk off somewhere else. Officers DeBoe, Caywood, and Morrison, along with Sergeant Black and Police corporal Clevenger went looking for her in the woods nearby, assisted by a member of the K9 unit.
40 minutes later, she was found. While that's great news in and of itself, it's how she was returned to her family that is making people melt.
Here she is, walking hand-in-hand with the gentlemanly Officer Morrison as her escort.
The Sheriff's department said the following on Facebook:
"At first, she seemed confused at the sudden appearance of police officers on the tree-lined trail, and she asked if the officers were out taking a walk, too. They quietly replied 'Yes,' after all, it was a beautiful day. And then she seemed relieved and told them she had lost her way. 'No problem,' said Officer Morrison, who then gently took her hand and along with the other officers walked her back to her house. Along the way, the officers made small talk with the woman, to make her feel at ease."
"Officers encounter different situations every day. Some good, some not so good. In this case, a frightening situation for the family ended happily. For that, they were thankful. For us, it’s the rewarding part of policing."
When asked what the key to a long life was, the 81-year-old said: "‘Eat good and stay active." Sound advice!