There have been so many stories on our news recently about people and children wandering away from their families and home, I felt obliged to write about them.
For years after moving here, I often was alarmed by the numbers of elderly persons we saw here in various stages of Dementia or even Alzheimer’s, who are still driving and out on our roads.
What are their families, their doctors and the state of Florida’s DMV thinking?
These people need to be off of the roads, before they kill themselves and/or others.
They are not safe to drive.
They are also not safe to be left alone in their homes without any supervision.
The story today was about an autistic young man who had recently done this and his mother Donna chose to bring his/their story to the press in the hopes that others might be learn from it and also be helped.
She makes some really important points, especially about the fact that drowning is frequently the primary cause of death in a wandering autistic person.
Donna can also expect to be engaged in a battle, at least here in Florida, where our politicians are still dragging their feet to allow extremely ill children to have access to the already approved medical marijuana, under the Charlotte’s web provision.
This mother wants to speed up the political process (bill) now being considered for an electronic tracker that will locate him quickly, if and when he does wander away again.
My thinking as a former Rehab and Geriatric Nurse, as well as the mother of a physically challenged son, is that there are others with challenges who should also have access to some sort of tracker, not just autistic children.
Here in our own neighborhood, an elderly man wandered away from his home weeks ago and still has not been found.
Quite often, patients in Nursing and other types of care facilities, walk right out the doors, often, with no one even noticing.
Thankfully, most of them are found before they are harmed.
But if they had a tracker on, this would protect them and save the caregivers at the facilities hours of searching for them.
The tendency to wander away is quite strong in those with Dementia, Alzheimer’s and other affective disorders, especially those with Autism.
So as this bill is being reviewed, in my opinion, it must absolutely cover and include providing tracking devices to all who need and will benefit from them.
Those who care for persons with emotional and/or mental or physical challenges, are often suffering in silence and forgotten about.
This is a terrible tragedy in our society.
Being a caregiver can and does drain these people to the point in some instances, of doing unspeakable things, even murder.
Unless and until you have been in their shoes, you may never understand the despair, the fear, the grief, the hopelessness and the guilt that they deal with on a daily basis.
So, if there is even one thing that we, their families, friends, co-workers, care givers or government representatives can do to alleviate any of it, we should do it without a single moment of hesitation.
Special children and adults are part of our Global family, they belong to all of us.
We need to, we must do, everything that we can, to keep them ALL safe.
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