It's the dreaded phone call: Your elderly loved one is missing. The nursing home thinks that he or she simply wandered off. Even though no foul play is anticipated, you know your loved one could still be in very real danger of injury or death.
You put your loved one -- perhaps a parent -- in a home because you knew that wandering was a problem. Maybe Mom was at the store and forgot where she was. Maybe Dad got lost driving home and went around the block repeatedly until someone found him. These types of episodes showed you that cognitive issues were real, and you trusted the home to provide assistance and security.
When that trust is breached, experts note that it's often because of understaffing or inadequate supervision. The nursing home doesn't have enough workers, someone misses a shift or the schedule isn't laid out properly. No matter how it happens, no one is watching when your loved one walks out the door. This is a very real issue for those dealing with memory loss, confusion, disorientation, anxiety, the inability to communicate and many other issues.
If you do get that call, the first thing you'll want to do is make sure your loved one is safe. This may mean making the call to the authorities, if it hasn't been done already. The local news may be notified to get the information out to the public, getting more eyes looking for the missing individual.
After he or she is found, you may then want to look into your legal options. Compensation may be warranted, especially if your loved one was injured or tragically passed away. If you want to learn more about what you can do, our website can be very helpful.