Many don’t know, but I have sat on the National Alzheimer’s Board for over 20 years. It is an epidemic very close to my heart, which claimed the life of my Grandma this past May. On October 25, 2012, my friend Angela Boyden contacted me in tears. She lives in Sacramento and her father Lloyd went missing in Elizabeth, NJ. Mr. Lloyd was cared for by his wife who had simply run to the grocery store and left him in the care of his 11-year-old granddaughter, telling the granddaughter she was the boss. While his granddaughter excused herself to the rest room, Mr. Lloyd decided to let himself out of the front door.
When his wife came back home, their granddaughter was frantic and in tears. She was afraid to go out after him. And she was afraid to contact the police, thinking she was going to be in trouble. His wife contacted the police who refused to put out a missing person’s report for 24 hours because he is a grown man, but they did take down information about what he was wearing and stuff to appease her. I got on twitter and contacted the mayor of Elizabeth and was excited when he wrote me back. He contacted the police and made them fill out a full report once I explained his situation.
The first fears that went through my mind are the fact that Elizabeth is on the border line of Newark. It was growing dark and cold. I didn’t want people to mistake him for homeless or even worse he could try to go in someone’s home and they harm him thinking he is an intruder. I spent countless hours sending out his pictures and calling hospitals and shelters. Unfortunately, when he turned 65 years old on October 30th, instead of celebrating at home with his family, he was missing in the middle of Hurricane Sandy.
The afternoon of Nov 6th I got a text message that read, “They found him. He is in the hospital and resting safe. Thank you for your prayers and help.” 14 days he was missing, and we will probably never really understand what he went through those 14 long, wet, cold days.
THIS IS A HAPPY STORY, but many are not!
I wanted to share my story because it is an epidemic that is closer than you think, and it will affect everyone reading this directly or indirectly at some point in life!