Shay Jacobson, RN, MA, NMG, LNCC, CNLCP
Martha Kern

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Ken, by all accounts, was missing.

His sister called to report that he had prematurely and abruptly ended his apartment lease, moved his belongings to storage, and set out for Florida in his car. He wasn’t answering his phone or responding to her frantic messages.

She explained that Ken struggles with words, not because he is shy, but because he has early-onset Alzheimer’s and primary progressive aphasia.

And he was out there alone, with no memory of the moments leading up to now, talking to strangers in his halting, labored style, and most assuredly heading for some kind of trouble.

It was time to call the police.

Lost and Found
Ken had gotten as far as Alabama but was headed back home when the state police found him. He was hospitalized with his sister’s full support and great relief. Positioned in far-away Boston, Rita was at a loss in trying to manage Ken’s care and called Lifecare Innovations to help her sort the situation out and be her local, expert eyes and ears.

Above and beyond his early-onset Alzheimer’s and aphasia, Ken was diagnosed with depression, anxiety and psychosis.

At the relatively tender age of 59, this former computer programmer and divorced father of one could no longer live on his own.

Lifecare Guardianship was named his temporary guardian of person.

The Great Escape
Ken’s hospitalization culminated in a secure memory unit placement. Here, he could be well supervised, kept safe and busy, and assured of regular meals, treatment and medical oversight.

Ken, however, had other ideas. He refused to shower or groom himself. He was non-compliant with his medications, verbally and physically abusive to staff, and very much inclined to attempted elopement. Just one week after his placement, he began kicking doors and running for the exits. Facility staff allowed him to exit the building where he was met by the police. Ken was taken back to the hospital.

With his continued non-compliance and aggression repeatedly manifested at the hospital, Ken was transferred to an intensive treatment unit and then to a psychiatric hospital for more specialized care. Over time, he did quite well at the psychiatric hospital and, though still refusing to shower, became more receptive to regular use of his prescribed medications.

A Map for the Rest of the Journey
Locating an appropriate facility willing to take on Ken’s behaviors and predilections was not a simple feat. It will be a challenge to engage him in activities and relationships to such a degree that his deep-seated urge to run is overcome.

Lifecare Guardianship will remain steadfastly involved in Ken’s journey, collaborating with facility staff to make the here and now more attractive to Ken than the road from which he was recently rescued. We look forward to a time when Ken will choose to be right where he is, happy, fulfilled and finally, completely, at home.

© Lifecare Innovations