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Lost woman found in Main Library; now home

Original post made on Jan 31, 2008

An older woman who went missing early Wednesday afternoon turned up in the Palo Alto Main Library and is safe at home, police reported Wednesday evening.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, January 30, 2008, 5:56 PM

Comments (11)

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 31, 2008 at 10:44 am

We got a CANS call for this lady and we kept our eyes open as we went out and about. I am so glad she was found safe.

Elderly people like this could be fitted with the same type of Firefly cell phones that are designed for kids. These should be hung on their necks or worn on their wrists and they only need press one button to call home or to answer a call from home.

In this modern age of technology, these independent, elderly but perhaps early dementia, people who tend to wander away from their loved ones should be able to be found safe without too much trouble.

I think the CANS usage was a good idea too.

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Posted by Speak-The-Language
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2008 at 11:19 am

One would think that the family of this woman should be asked by the police to provide her a cell phone that has her telephone number programmed into it.

Since this woman is of foreign birth, and has chosen not to learn any English--even though she is living in an English speaking country--the least the family can do is make certain that she can "call home" if she gets lost.

The article doesn't say how she got from South Palo Alto to the Main Library, which happens to be on the shuttle route. If this lady is not fully capable of getting around town by herself, the family needs make certain that she has the help she needs, rather than letting her wander around for long periods of time.

Perhaps the police can make the suggestion to the family in a diplomatic way. If not, then hopefully the family might read this posting and take note.

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Posted by BeCareful
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 31, 2008 at 12:40 pm

"Police and citizens launched a search for the 71 year old, who has been missing at least two times before, Brown said."

Dear family of this woman .. please get her a cell phone and teach her how to call the numbers from the directory. Give her a note with the address on it; another note that says in English - " I am lost, please call the police"

She has lost her way twice already, learn a lesson and keep her safe.

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Posted by Speak-The-Language
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2008 at 1:50 pm

> " I am lost, please call the police"

Perhaps calling her family first would be a better idea. If a family member can not be reached, then call the police.

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Posted by Use-Personal-Safety-Devices
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2008 at 2:12 pm

This problem of seniors who might be afflicted with various maladies, such as Alzheimer's, is being dealt with via electronic bracelets, which allow tracking of these seniors:

Web Link

ON a dark, rainy evening last fall, a 78-year-old man with Alzheimer’s headed out the front door of his home in Morris County, N.J., and started walking toward a grocery store. His frantic wife, having walked downstairs and realized he was gone, called the Morris County Sheriff’s Office to report him missing. Twelve minutes after officers arrived at the house, they found him almost three miles from his home.

The man was wearing a special electronic bracelet from a nonprofit company in Virginia called Project Lifesaver, and Sgt. Moire Reilly of the Sheriff’s Office credits the program for that rescue and a half-dozen others in the county in the past three years.

Families with language-impaired seniors should also consider these sorts of personal safety devices for the wellbeing of these older family members. It not reasonable to burden the community with having to spend public resources to keep track of people who can easily be tracked, or have mobile communications devices in their possession.

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Posted by joe
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 1, 2008 at 6:12 am

Yeah, right, Speak-The-Language, elderly mentally impaired people who don't learn a new language, how irresponsible of them.

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Posted by Speak-The-Language
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2008 at 7:24 am

> elderly mentally impaired people

There is nothing in this article that stated that this woman was "mentally impaired". But if this were true, that even further points out how irresponsible it would be to allow such a person to wander the streets unsupervised.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2008 at 8:55 am

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people in our community who are elderly and getting mentally impaired, but otherwise are healthy and want to remain active. Have you any idea how difficult it is to watch these people 24/7. To live with someone like this it is almost impossible to make a phone call, go to the bathroom, run an errand, or even answer the door as these people often realise that they are alone and take off straight away. Even if you take the person with you on the errand, you can't leave them in the car you have to take them in and out with you and if you take your eyes off them for a second, they are gone. It is worse than having a toddler. At least with a toddler you can put a security strap on their wrist and and the other end on yours, but have you seen this done to the elderly too?

This may sound extreme, but I have witnessed a couple where the wife wanted to wander and the husband just wasn't as fit as she was and he had to watch her all the time, locking doors, etc.

No, the bracelets mentioned above is a good idea, but more than that we have to give families with these type of family members a break because generally speaking they are doing their best in a difficult situation.

Get a teenager to grannysit for a couple of hours after school to give the family a break. This is something that even boys can do as parents don't usually want teenage boys to babysit their girls. The experience will do the teens a service as well as providing them with some extra spending money.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2008 at 8:58 am

One more thing, this type of thing happening is going to get more common particularly as we are told that Palo Altans are aging and there is also the tendency now of inviting elderly relatives to live with younger families to help with childcare and then discover that it is often the children when they are old enough having to help care for those that were their caregivers.

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Posted by Palo Alto Mom
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Feb 1, 2008 at 11:57 am

I would like to thank the Palo Alto Police Department for using the new phone system to notify the Palo Alto community that one of our more vulnerable citizens was at risk. I felt concerned and kept a watchful eye as I was out and about. May we also receive a follow-up call on the phone system when situations like this are resolved?

It would be of great support to our vulnerable adult population if a foundation or social service agency would provide electronic locator devices for persons medically deemed to be incompetent to find their way home.

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Posted by Mom
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 2, 2008 at 11:11 am

Well I'm so happy she was found safe, I was so happy to hear that the Student Cadets could help the police in locating the woman. All I know is that its the real events that take place while they are in the program, that really give them the experience and knowledge they are seeking, rather then sitting in a classroom. Although of course, that is very educational too. I herd that the young cadets did a very professional job and acted very mature as they went through Cubberley looking for the woman. It gives me comfort to know that these teens will possibly one day be protecting our community.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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