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Wandering and Elopement

Dementia and the Elderly

As each of us gets older, it is inevitable that our memory will suffer. Unfortunately, some people experience continual worsening of symptoms as they age—eventually being diagnosed with one of several different forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s.

Although many families would like to keep their loved ones at home, worsening dementia may make that an almost impossible task. Left unsupervised, an elderly person suffering from dementia may inadvertently cause harm to themselves or others. That is why many families make the difficult decision to place their loved one in a nursing home.

Care and Responsibility

When you entrust the care of your loved one to the hopefully compassionate and skilled staff in a nursing home, you expect them to take their responsibility seriously and do all that they can to ensure the safety and comfort of the residents. When you leave for the day, you trust that your parent or grandparent will remain safe and secure under the watchful eyes of the staff.

This is even more critical when it comes to the care of someone with dementia. Due to the very nature of the condition, someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s is likely to wander or elope from the premises. This can be a very dangerous situation and one that should never occur at a skilled nursing facility.

Dangerous and Scary

Because someone suffering from dementia is likely to have bouts of lucid thoughts interspersed within periods of severe memory loss, they are often fearful even in a familiar environment. This fear is compounded if they find themselves in unfamiliar territory, cold or alone. However, panic and stress is only part of the problem.

An elderly person wandering alone does not always stand out as a small unsupervised child might. This means that they can create a great deal of distance between where they belong and where they may wander. By the time someone recognizes that they are lost, they may already be suffering from hyperthermia or dehydration.

When Caretakers are Negligent

When there are many residents in a nursing home it may be difficult to keep tabs on each one of them. Nevertheless, it is the responsibility of the facility to ensure there is adequate supervision in place to keep everyone safe. After all, if the staff at a daycare center allowed even one of the children entrusted to them to wander off, the center would likely be closed down. Negligence when it comes to the elderly is no less horrific.

If your loved one has eloped from a nursing home or suffered from other forms of neglect, reach out to our experienced legal team at Shea Law Group for a free consultation. Call us today at (877)-365-0040 to speak with a Chicago injury attorney. We never charge a fee unless we attain a settlement for you and your family, and we have the knowledge and experience to do just that.