Glenetta was living in a residential care facility in Roseville, California, in October 2019. She was one of the 50 million people around the world who has dementia. The condition affects the brain, which causes problems with memory, changes is behavior and thinking, and difficulty carrying out daily tasks. The effects of the disease vary from person to person, and it depends on the part of the brain that is damaged.
Symptoms Of Dementia
There are many symptoms of dementia. They include difficulty concentrating, difficulty making plans, visual perception issues, and memory problems. Many people experience difficulty with language and mood swings. One serious problem that occurs in people with dementia is wandering. People become very disoriented when they are out of their surroundings, which can result in them forgetting their name, address, and making it difficult to recognize familiar places. It is believed that people wander when they feel restless, agitated, or fearful of something. Some people are just bored. In many cases, they will track familiar routes such as the way to work or the supermarket.
The Dangers Of Wandering
For a healthy person, going for a walk is harmless. For a person with dementia, there are plenty of dangers. While wandering, a person with dementia can wind up in an unfamiliar place, they could become confused on busy roads, resulting in an accident, or they could go out in bad weather. If the terrain is uneven, they are at risk of falling. Wandering can put a person’s life at risk, and often causes their families to panic.
When an elderly person goes missing, whether they have dementia or not, the police will issue a Silver Alert. The person’s photo, name, and any other essential information are released on the news and on social media. The purpose of the Silver Alert is for the public to be aware that an elderly individual is missing, so they can keep their eyes opening. In September 2019, a Silver Alert was issued for Glenneta Belford.
When the staff at Glenneta’s Roseville care home realized that she was missing, they immediately called the police. The Roseville Police Department was well aware of the dangers that Glenneta could e exposed to out on her own in her condition, so they started looking for her immediately. Understanding the severity of her condition, they knew that they had to find her quickly. This is what led them to reach out to their colleagues in Sacramento, who sent a helicopter to aid in the search. The helicopter was brought in for more than air support. They also used it to let the people in the neighborhood know that Glenneta was missing. Over the loudspeaker, they made an announcement about her disappearance and asked people to volunteer in the search. The police knew how important it was for Glenneta to be found before dark. They knew that once the sun went down, it would be much more dangerous for Glenneta to be out on her own. When the helicopter was in the air making the announcement, it was already 4 pm. This meant that they had only a few hours to find the elderly woman.
The police department also posted the news of Glenneta’s disappearance on their Facebook page. They wrote, “Please help us locate 97-year-old Glenneta Belford. She suffers from dementia and is mostly non-verbal. Recently, she’s been known to hide or hunker down in a location.”
Makenna Rogers and Hope Claiborne
Makenna and Hope were hanging out at the park after school. They heard the sound of the helicopter above; then, they heard the announcement. They could tell that the police really wanted to find this woman, so they decided to do what they could to help. The girls wanted to look for Glenneta, so they got their bikes and enlisted the help from Hope’s brother, Kashton, and his friend, Logan Hultman. Together, the children joined in on the search.
An Uneven Path
The kids went off the road on their bikes, and while driving on an uneven path, Logan went over a bump. The second bump threw him in the air, and he fell off his bike. He had some cuts and scrapes and needed first aid. The kids went home, Logan cleaned up his wound, they had dinner, and then set out again looking for Glenneta.
The kids knew who to look for because Hope’s father sent her a picture of the missing woman. He didn’t think the kids would be successful, but it gave them something to do. The four children search playgrounds, parking lots, and their elementary school. It was around 6:30 pm, and the sun was going down when Hope spotted Glenneta. She was wearing a red shirt and white pants, just like the news described. Hope was sure that it was the woman they were looking for. It was lucky that the kids found her when they did. She was wandering toward one of Roseville’s busiest streets, talking to herself.
The kids tried to talk to Glenneta, but she didn’t make much sense except for when she told them to go home. Hope took out her phone and called 911 to let the authorities know that they had located her. The kids stayed with Glenneta to keep her safe until the police arrived. All four children were deemed heroes for locating her. After a 97-year-old woman went missing, four kids knew that they had to act fast. It’s a good thing they did because that night, Glenneta was safe in her own bed.