Thursday, December 8

Cops walk the extra mile to take dementia patient home

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A 70-year-old Alipore Avenue resident and a dementia patient, who had stepped out of her home on Thursday evening only to forget her way back, was reunited with her family by the New Alipore police after several hours. Police walked with her for almost an hour till late at night in the lanes and by-lanes leading to Alipore Avenue looking for a “Kajaria” nameplate till they found her worried and anxious husband. The elderly couple’s children, who stay abroad, on Friday reached out to the New Alipore cops to express their personal gratitude through Skype, also narrating how distraught and helpless they were till their mother returned home late night.

Before the cops, however, it was a 41-year-old Durgapur Colony resident Biswajit Das who first noticed the lady, anxious and tired, standing near B P Poddar Hospital. It was evening and soon to be dark. “She looked very tired and told me son, I have lost my home,” Das said. “I took it very casually. I told her back, aunty, the home is where it is, you have got lost. And then I realised she was crying. I felt very bad at myself. She looked from a proper household. She had a gold chain on her neck with a diamond pendant, gold bangles and rings. I made her sit down, offered her some water and asked for her name. She was struggling to remember that, she looked stressed. Then she blurted out a few numbers. The first set of numbers were a wrong number. And then she kept saying 13-14-digit numbers. I was scared for her. And I didn’t think it was safe at all to send her away in a taxi as she kept insisting,” Das said. So, he informed the New Alipore police.

When the elderly woman was brought to the police station and made to sit, she could after a while only recollect “Kajaria”. Police couldn’t track down a single missing case which matched her details in their central server. At the same time, the New Alipore OC Amit Shankar Mukherjee posted her photograph in various local WhatsApp groups of which he is a member. An officer said the only Kajaria they could immediately recollect is the Kajaria Tiles office in the vicinity. Cops first approached them seeking to connect with other Kajaria families. They provided some leads in the Alipore Avenue area. Meanwhile, Mukherjee started getting several responses from people who said she belonged to a family in Alipore Avenue. “But none could specifically give us her address,” an officer said. So, along with the police officers in tow, the woman was taken to the Alipore Avenue area. “She could not immediately recollect the road, so we also kept checking the nameplates along the stretches,” an officer said.

After a search, which took close to 50 minutes, police finally found the nameplate they were looking for at 2J Alipore Avenue, which fell under the Alipore police station. The woman, too, finally recognised her home and stepped in. Once inside, she was reunited with her extremely worried husband. “Her husband, who is also very old, told us that his wife suffered from bouts of dementia. After she could not be found, they were helplessly looking for her around. They were mulling to approach the police for help,” an officer said. “The husband was extremely helpless. He, too, is very old and all their children stay outside Kolkata. Together they were anxious,” the officer added. On Friday morning, Mukherjee got a call on Skype from the woman’s son, who personally conveyed to him their gratitude for help bringing their mother home.

The woman could either be in the initial stages of dementia or suffering from ‘transient amnesia’, according to RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences (RTIICS) consultant Arindam Biswas. “Transient amnesia triggers temporary memory loss. It keeps recurring but may not get worse. Sudden memory loss could also be a sign of dementia. If it’s dementia then the bouts will get progressively longer and intense,” said Biswas.

Source: Times of India

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