Grandma is lost.
June 18, 2011 3:06 PM   Subscribe

Friend's grandma is lost in San Francisco. Not good. What are some resources?

Posting for shy lurker Simulare. (Yes, I promise to get him active around here.)

His grandmother has been lost in San Francisco for 24 hours, and is likely confused and/or frightened. Simulare is flying out there, and yes - his brother has filed a missing persons report, but is there any other measures that could be taken?

If there are specific questions, please direct them to him! He's monitoring the thread.

Thanks guys!
posted by functionequalsform to Human Relations (95 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
Missing person posters all over the suspect neighborhood?
posted by puddinghead at 3:10 PM on June 18, 2011

Does she live alone? Is she living in a care facility? Does she have any medical alert bracelets, anything like that?
posted by Think_Long at 3:11 PM on June 18, 2011

More information. Does she live there? What quarter did she start in? What does she look like? What is she wearing? Is she a native English speaker? Does she have dementia?
posted by bq at 3:14 PM on June 18, 2011

Hi, I'm Steve. My grandmother was last seen at the home she shares with my cousin and aunt in the Richmond. 27th between California and Lake yesterday afternoon between 12:30-2:30. My cousin has filed a missing persons report with the SFPD and has been on the search with a small group of friends and family. Fliers have been made and posted, to what extent, I'm not sure right now.

My grandmother is 85, has dementia, only speaks Mandarin, and my be wearing a light blue quilted jacket or a long black coat.

I'm a little scatter minded right now and am probably skipping over details. The gist of this is that I'd love to get a little help either in spreading this information or to make sure we're not missing anything that could help.

Her name is Lien Fang Wang Kuo and this is a recent photo:
posted by simulare at 3:14 PM on June 18, 2011

Someone in DC was missing and a Facebook group was started (with photos) that people shared and it became a place for people to share information - could be a good way to get more folks aware.
posted by anya32 at 3:14 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you have some idea what neighborhood she was likely to have wandered off in / from, alert local organizations with a public mission and / or presence like churches, community centers, social welfare agencies, hospital emergency rooms, medical clinics, senior centers, homeless shelters, firehouses and (obviously and as you have done) the police. A call to the local office for the aging might be helpful also.

Good luck!
posted by cool breeze at 3:15 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've heard of "Silver Alerts" being posted for missing elderly people.
posted by sciencegeek at 3:15 PM on June 18, 2011

@anya32, i've been flooding facebook and a few sf friends have been good enough to spread the word also. a group page is a great idea. thank you.
posted by simulare at 3:16 PM on June 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

Simulare: you might want to post a phone number or at least email address so if any SF mefites spot her they can contact you immediately.
posted by Ashley801 at 3:17 PM on June 18, 2011

I just posted on FB, simulare
posted by anya32 at 3:18 PM on June 18, 2011

@cool breeze, great ideas. @sciencegeek, i found that earlier and noticed that the legislation is pending in California, not sure what that means exactly.
posted by simulare at 3:18 PM on June 18, 2011

The public Facebook page isn't working; I am Tweeting the other info right now.
posted by headspace at 3:25 PM on June 18, 2011

I would also try social service agencies that specialize in seniors with dementia. They probably have dealt with this before and can offer some suggestions. The Alzheimer's Day Care Resource Center sound like a good resource for you. They're at 22nd and Geary so even in the general neighborhood and I think it's likely that they have Mandarin resources. Best of luck to you.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 3:26 PM on June 18, 2011

I also sent it to a friend who is a community organizer in Chinatown in SF - will keep you posted if she has more suggestions.
posted by anya32 at 3:28 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Tomorrow is Sunday. Reach out to pastors in congregations in those neighbourhoods today and organise friends to leaflet before services in all the area neighbourhoods you can reach. This will give you the maximum outreach for that day of the week.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:30 PM on June 18, 2011 [3 favorites]

I was hoping to post info for the Silver Alert in California. Unbelievably, CA does not have it, so please don't waste time looking into that avenue.
posted by Houstonian at 3:31 PM on June 18, 2011

Thanks guys. I'm working on facebook page right now and will tweak my profile to make it more accessible. I'll also post up a flier in pdf format. If you're a shop owner or just have time to tape up fliers in the Richmond and/or Chinatown, that would be awesome.
posted by simulare at 3:31 PM on June 18, 2011

@DarlinBri, churches are a great idea. Thanks.

Back in thirty minutes while I get this social networking thing going.

By the way, I have been tweeting about this but without much response. #lostinsf.
posted by simulare at 3:33 PM on June 18, 2011

Definitely call the Alzheimer's folks -- I know out here in MA, they've been really helpful for folks I know who've had older confused folks go missing.
posted by rmd1023 at 3:33 PM on June 18, 2011

I don't have any friends currently in SF but I'll post your grandmother's information on my corner of facebook and get friends of friends involved.

Hang in there. Don't forget to eat and hydrate during this ordeal.
posted by cooker girl at 3:35 PM on June 18, 2011

Steve, you may want to assign a helper/volunteer on the ground to do nothing but make circuits of all the area's emergency rooms to 1) leave a flyer 2) talk to whoever is the most likely person to get called in when they have a Mandarin-speaking patient. (And I'm not saying it's guaranteed she's hurt, just that if someone finds a confused elderly woman they're most likely going to take her there or call 911 and she'll end up there to get checked out.)
posted by Lyn Never at 3:37 PM on June 18, 2011

When I worked at a taxi call centre in Canberra here in Australia, we often got calls from the police asking us to notify our drivers of missing elderly people (and we quite often found them, too).

I have no idea how many cab companies are in SF, but it might be worth calling them and giving them a description of your grandmother so they can ask their drivers to be on the lookout.

Fingers crossed that she will be found very soon...
posted by malibustacey9999 at 3:40 PM on June 18, 2011 [3 favorites]

Steve I posted this info and the pic on my facebook also, many of my friends are in SF. I hope your grandma is ok and found soon!!!
posted by supermedusa at 3:42 PM on June 18, 2011

Be specific with the pastors. While including you in their Sunday prayers is a nice and kind thing to do, what you want is for the pastor to post a poster in the lobby, let congregation know it is there and why, and give you permission to leaflet on their property after services. Tell your volunteers to be gracious to people offering to pray for them. I hope your grandmother is found before tomorrow, and if she is you should also let each of these people know before services so you leave this outreach channel open to other families later.

May the force be with you.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:42 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Posted on FB and TW. Thinking good thoughts for a safe return, Steve. Please keep us posted.
posted by pineapple at 4:01 PM on June 18, 2011

Does anyone have contacts to local media? They might be able to provide a description on the local news.

I'm sending my best thoughts for you and your grandmother.
posted by goggie at 4:02 PM on June 18, 2011

Your grandma is a super cute lady! Sending good thoughts -- I hope she's found soon.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 4:07 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Maybe you can ask SFist to run a gramma alert news item?
posted by elizardbits at 4:12 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Thanks guys. Switching between a number of tasks. Here is a quickly made facebook group page:

And here is a flier:
posted by simulare at 4:14 PM on June 18, 2011

actual facebook link:
posted by simulare at 4:15 PM on June 18, 2011

Who are some high-profile SF tweeters? Could you reach out to them and ask them to link to your FB page or PDF flyer?
Also -- newspapers, newscasts and TV screens in public transit often publish info about missing elderly persons here in Montreal. If you have any connections in the media, this is a good time to use them.
posted by OLechat at 4:22 PM on June 18, 2011

Just a note for the searchers, alzheimer's victims tend to be found very close to the last known location. She may be disoriented and hiding and not responding to her name being called. Leave no stone unturned within the immediate vicinity.
posted by Manjusri at 4:29 PM on June 18, 2011

I've tweeted Train (I know, Mefites aren't generally Train fans but I am) and asked them to retweet. Surely the writers/singers of Save Me San Francisco would have a bunch of SF followers.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 4:38 PM on June 18, 2011

Is a meta a good idea? So folks who don't do the green are also alerted?
posted by likeso at 5:02 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Some more tips on searching for alzheimer's patients. (source). If you have a SAR team involved they know all this, but just in case.

It sounds like your last known location is too urban for talk of briars and streams but substitute local obstructions. The point is not to assume that because a place is difficult to enter that she would have turned around. If you can mark places that have already been exhaustively searched (I use fluorescent tape) it may help save duplicated effort.

Good Luck!

The considerable number (18%) of DAT patients found in drainages or creeks supports the following a path of least resistance hypothesis. This indicates they walked downhill. Another 29% of the patients appear to have become stuck in thick brush or briars (a feature untrained searchers often avoid). Together (47%), both terrain features indicate a scenario of the patient traveling a path of least resistance till they reach a creek or get stuck in briars. This as lead to a rather simple but true statement that can be used in search planning: They go until they get stuck

- Appear to lack ability to turnaround.
- Subject oriented to the past, degree of the disease sends them back in time
- Subject usually found in a creek, or drainage and/or caught in briars/bushes (63%)
- May cross or depart from roads (67%).
- Usually (89%) found within one mile of IPP, half found within 0.5 miles.
- Subject usually found a short distance from road (50% within 33 yards)
- Subject may attempt to travel to former residence or favorite place.
- Subject will not leave many verifiable clues.
- Will not cry-out for help (1%) or respond to shouts (only 1% response rate).

posted by Manjusri at 5:06 PM on June 18, 2011 [12 favorites]

Have you notified the Presidio? I'm not sure that the SFPD has jurisdiction there or if they have their own law enforcement through GGNRA but it's close enough to where she last was to make sure that they are notified specifically given that it would be really easy to get lost in the forested area on the south end where she'd likely cross over.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 5:11 PM on June 18, 2011

I sent an e-mail tip to the NBC link for the Bay Area that came up in Google with a link to this thread and the contact information listed above. Since I'm not local, I'm not sure who else to contact, but it was pretty quick and easy. Could others nearer SF or more familiar with SF try to send tips?
posted by goggie at 5:12 PM on June 18, 2011

Okay, I put a short MeTa up linking back to this thread. Wishing you strength, and sending you good vibes, Steve.
posted by likeso at 5:41 PM on June 18, 2011

Have you alerted SF Muni? I've seen missing adult posters up in downtown stations and they could give drivers a heads up in case they see her.
posted by oneear at 5:43 PM on June 18, 2011

Response by poster: You guys are amazing. I'm on my phone, at a BBQ with a bunch of NYC mefites. Thanks so much for the MeTa, and Steve - the NYC contingent is thinking about you!!
posted by functionequalsform at 5:46 PM on June 18, 2011

Don't forget traditional news agencies. KRON-4 News ( is the only locally-based TV station, and The Chronicle ( is still the big paper around here. I looked, and couldn't find easy ways to submit news alerts... perhaps someone has better fu or personal contacts.
posted by nadise at 5:49 PM on June 18, 2011

I called Steve and he is presently stuck in Atlanta, but his cousin is coordinating efforts. I will report back with any information or directives from his cousin.

I live in Richmond, but work in The Richmond so I can get down there ASAP and search or hang posters or whatever needs doing.
posted by fake at 6:01 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

It might be a good idea to make a flier in Mandarin, too.
posted by needs more cowbell at 6:09 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Posted on my FB wall as well. I live in San Jose, but have a lot of friends in/near SF. Sending good thoughts to Steve and his family.
posted by bakerina at 6:13 PM on June 18, 2011

Status check: 6-8 cars are being coordinated by my cousin Julia to methodically scour the Richmond. @fake is awesome and is joining up with the search team. I'm hearing that my grandmother was on the local news and hopeful that'll help spread the word. I'm in Atlanta for at least the next 8-10 hours and am spending that time calling and sending emails to local churches and hospitals (the hospitals have been contacted already by Julia but it seems to make sense to check it. After that I intend to hit local restaurants and shops with the flier.

Thanks to everyone for the support. It's incredible. Will be sharing @manjusri's tips and working on a Mandarin flier.
posted by simulare at 6:21 PM on June 18, 2011

The television stations are:

KGO (ABC) (415) 954-7777
KNTV (NBC) (408)432-6221
KCBS (CBS) 415-362-5550 (can't remember if they do news)
KRON4 (415) 441-4444
KTVU (FOX) (510) 834-1212
PBS/KQED doesn't do TV news, the radio news room is (415) 553-2361

These are probably all front desk numbers (some weren't labeled). I assumed the tip lines went to answering machines. I've definitely seen 'elderly person gone missing' stories on Bay Area local news, but I've not lived there for a few years and honestly can't remember if those were after the person had been located or not, but it's worth a shot.
posted by hoyland at 6:27 PM on June 18, 2011

also contacting cab companies. that was a great idea. will try these other news stations. thanks.
posted by simulare at 6:35 PM on June 18, 2011

Posted this on facebook and twitter. My thoughts are with you; this could be my grandmother.
posted by madcaptenor at 6:42 PM on June 18, 2011

Posted to my Facebook, and asked my SF friends to re-post and get the word out. Good luck.
posted by palomar at 7:18 PM on June 18, 2011

Posted the link to my FB. I'm really hoping you all are reunited soon.
posted by goggie at 7:22 PM on June 18, 2011

100 Valley Drive
Brisbane, CA 94005

Phone: (415)468-2626
Fax: (415)467-7559

This TV station does Mandarin news in San Francisco
posted by aninom at 7:27 PM on June 18, 2011

You may have already found these, but the Alzheimer's Association has an emergency response line (1.800.625.3780) where you can report missing people, and Project Jason seems to work with families to help cover/contact resources.
posted by grapesaresour at 7:37 PM on June 18, 2011

I am at Julias, we are looking over the info posted here.
posted by fake at 7:38 PM on June 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

In response to my fb post, a friend said this: " I was at the colma bart yesterday around 5pm when a woman speaking Chinese only was trying to get home. A woman at the stop was assisting her and was trying to determine if her home was in sf. There was a phone number in her pocket that the lady was going to call to find more information. Not sure what happened after that.This all took place on June 17 at around 5."
posted by gingerbeer at 7:42 PM on June 18, 2011

Also, On Lok might be a good resource for you.
posted by gingerbeer at 7:46 PM on June 18, 2011

Cops have been called.
Cabs have been called.
Drivers who were out looking are now coordinating. We are planning the next search now.
posted by fake at 8:22 PM on June 18, 2011 [3 favorites]

I posted this in the fb group as well, but contact Eric Mar, member of the Bd of Supes from the Richmond. His office won't get back to you before Monday, but you can also track him down on fb. He may be able to generate more official interest and priority.
posted by gingerbeer at 8:28 PM on June 18, 2011

I can run down anything in the east bay, would suggest calling BART and MUNI transit police if they haven't been notified already, the stations and their agents cover wide territory.
posted by iamabot at 8:42 PM on June 18, 2011

I reposted on my facebook, since I have a lot of SF friends. I'm in the East Bay tonight, but I'm certainly thinking of your family. *hugs*
posted by chatongriffes at 8:57 PM on June 18, 2011

The ideas here seem pretty comprehensive, but the non-profit organization Institute on Aging in SF could have additional ideas or resources. They're even located in the Richmond District. There's a contact form on the site, but and it says "Call for information or immediate assistance (415) 750-4111". This is the contact info listed:

IOA Administrative Offices

3575 Geary Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94118
Phone: (415) 750-4180
Fax: (415)750-5337
Information, Assessment, & Referral

Phone: (415) 750-4111
Toll Free: (877) 750-4111
Fax: (415) 750-5337

Email: Hours: 9am - 5pm
posted by mostlymartha at 9:14 PM on June 18, 2011

My SO passed this info along to the city editor at the San Francisco Chronicle. Keeping you all in our thoughts.

*crosses fingers*
posted by Space Kitty at 9:20 PM on June 18, 2011

We've got her. After 30 hours of search she was found by one of the search groups. More details to come when I stop hyperventilating. I love you metafilter. Thanks for all the great ideas and support. Special thanks to functionequalsform for making the post and fake who drove untold miles to join the search party.
posted by simulare at 10:22 PM on June 18, 2011 [72 favorites]

From the Facebook page: "I just talked to her on the phone. She's in incredibly good spirits for someone who was wandering the city for 30+ hours. They're taking her to the hospital just to make sure she's okay. I'll be in SF by tomorrow night. I am deeply grateful to all of you and feel overwhelmed by your support."
Steve Hsu 10:17pm Jun 18

Of course this should be verified by the OP, but it seems to be a happy ending.
posted by anotherkate at 10:22 PM on June 18, 2011 [3 favorites]

So, a brief summary - simulare's cousin Julia is running the local search and rescue effort and is doing a good job. He put me in touch with her and I met with the search party she had already got moving.

In all, between 12 and 16 people were out in pairs canvassing a (huge) area with posters, checking and double checking places where grandma had been, following up on sightings (there were at least two from yesterday) and more. I arrived when everyone returned to debrief, sometime around 7:30. I was the sole Person From The Internet and so I explained a bit about MetaFilter and people started acting on the advice here, both on the word of simulare and myself. That included calling the news agencies, cab companies, and the Alzheimer's Association line (they were a little weird/stumbly because grandma wasn't registered with them, but Julia followed through and filed a report and I am convinced it was a good thing/the right thing to do). She also gave the police updated pictures and got everyone debriefed.

Honestly, at this point, there wasn't much I could offer so I did some note-taking while people debriefed, discussed a few things with Julia, and then drove around with her friend B to canvas the Presidio with flyers and re-check places others had been. During this time a subset of the previous teams were out checking alleyways and other smaller spots. When B and I ran out of new places to go, and started finding other teams' posters everywhere, we decided to call it in. It is definitely too dark to be very effective, and the police are all on alert, and it's just one of these really frustrating situations where the amount of uncertainty is enormous. Grandma is probably not in the best mental state, a lot of time has passed, and things in big cities are naturally unpredictable. There's so much uncertainty that nailing down a plan of action is really hard. My only concrete advice to Julia was just to keep calling, calling, calling, and not to assume that any agency or entity is communicating with any other.

My heart goes out to this family, I really feel for them and am hoping for a good outcome. Guys, if you are reading the thread, take care of yourselves and text/call if there is anything I can help out with in the next few days.

I also want to mention that mattdidthat gave me an email/call offering to help, which I got too late because my phone was dying. I called him back just to let him know that we were calling it a night, at least myself and B. Go Team MeFi, yer a bunch of awesome.
posted by fake at 10:26 PM on June 18, 2011 [5 favorites]

posted by rtha at 10:26 PM on June 18, 2011

Whoa holy awesome! Congrats simulare!!!!
posted by fake at 10:27 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sweet Jebus, that is the BEST NEWS EVER.
posted by grapesaresour at 10:32 PM on June 18, 2011

Response by poster: I heart you, fake. Many drinks if you come to NYC or ATL. And hugs. Thanks for everyone's time. I can tell it made a difference.
posted by functionequalsform at 10:32 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

What wonderful news! All the best to you and Grandma!
posted by mostlymartha at 10:37 PM on June 18, 2011

Seriously, fake. We love you forever. Drinks on me forever. My admiration and respect forever. Julia sends her gratitude too. Calling off the media now. Love you all.
posted by simulare at 10:43 PM on June 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Seriously. Just talked to simulare and evidently she's all, "why would I want to go to the hospital? Everything's ok." except in mandarin. Love.
posted by functionequalsform at 10:43 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

posted by Space Kitty at 10:45 PM on June 18, 2011

Hey, I didn't do that much, but I'll gladly accept your friendship forever (and sure, drinks!). Hugs all around, you are great people and you saved a life today.
posted by fake at 10:48 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Just called off the media, using hoyland's phone numbers. God I love metafilter. By the way, the sound you're hearing is a single ice cube in my big glass of bourbon.
posted by simulare at 10:58 PM on June 18, 2011 [5 favorites]

Goddamn, I love a happy ending!

Give grandma a hug from us. We're so pleased she is safe and sound.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 11:08 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

That was amazing, everyone. Never underestimate the power of AskMeFi!
posted by couchtater at 12:00 AM on June 19, 2011

So glad she's been found. If fake is ever in my neighbourhood I'm buying him dinner.
posted by arcticseal at 12:36 AM on June 19, 2011

Seconded. Dinner and a hug. Great stuff, fake. WHEW! And have a couple of big ole drinks, simulare!
posted by likeso at 1:31 AM on June 19, 2011

I'm glad we found your grandma simulare! Would've been REALLY worried if she spent another night alone out there.
And a big THANKS to fake for your help today! It is truly amazing that a random stranger would offer to help search for someone they don't know. Not sure how we can ever repay you.
And also thanks to everyone on here for their help, suggestions, prayers & well-wishes! The intraweb is awesome!
posted by gotwong415 at 2:15 AM on June 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

It is truly amazing that a random stranger would offer to help search for someone they don't know

But...but it's MetaFilter; it's not random! I went off FB-updating and tweeting last night all "I don't usually do this sort of thing, but, well, MetaFilter."

What nice news to wake up to. Big props to the search parties -- wow.
posted by kmennie at 2:34 AM on June 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Oh yeah!
I said over on the grey:
This is the best news to wake up to - Happy Found Grandma Day everybody!

(oh, and give your dad a call, if you can)
posted by likeso at 2:42 AM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, this is great. I only just saw it so I was getting ready to Facebook the few people I know in SF, then skimmed through and saw I didn't need to. Hurray for happy endings!
posted by Infinite Jest at 2:59 AM on June 19, 2011

What wonderful news! So glad for your family!
posted by goggie at 4:34 AM on June 19, 2011

Oh good! I'm so happy for you.

Now that she's back with people who love her, here's a couple of things we've done for my FIL with Alzheimer's so that he doesn't get lost:
* Install double key locks on all the exterior doors, and keep the keys out of sight, so he can't open the doors on his own;
* The local Sheriff's office provided a locater that's locked around his ankle, in case he does get out anyway. They come out once a month to change the battery. If he manages to get out of the house, they can find him.

Something we haven't done, but I've seen that other Alzheimer's caretakers have used, is placing a round black rug just inside of exterior doors. Someone with dementia may think it's a hole and therefore avoid it--and thus never try to go through the door.

I know this was an awful time for you, and I hope you never have to go through it again! I'm so glad she's been found.
posted by galadriel at 4:52 AM on June 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

As likeso said, this is the news I wanted to wake up to. Give Grandma a big hug from me!
posted by Room 641-A at 6:34 AM on June 19, 2011

I am so happy you found her! First thing I did this morning was check!
posted by anya32 at 6:46 AM on June 19, 2011

!!! Great news.
posted by LonnieK at 7:07 AM on June 19, 2011

but the Alzheimer's Association has an emergency response line (1.800.625.3780) where you can report missing people,

I just got a call back from this organization, they were looking for an update on whether or not we had found grandma. I updated them according to the information posted here. I must admit being more than a little disappointed that the sum total of stuff they did, that I can see, was... asking questions and calling us back. But maybe, probably, there was more behind the scenes.

simulare, please tell Julia that they may be calling her with some additional advice and/or questions.

I think we are all very happy about the outcome here but honestly, from experience, from here on out the contents of this thread should probably be things like practical advice on how to prevent this from happening again and organizations to contact/plans of action for other people who end up in this situation.

There is another thread for cheers and well-wishes.
posted by fake at 8:44 AM on June 19, 2011

I imagine they must make tracking devices (like the ankle bracelet mentioned upthread) but another way to do it might be getting your loved one an iPhone (since the track my iPhone feature is now available to everyone, free). The trick of course is to engineering some way of making sure she always has it with her, maybe by putting photos of family and things she cares about on it. It also has the added benefit of, you know, being a phone.

So glad this had a happy ending.
posted by danny the boy at 11:55 AM on June 19, 2011

This Dallas company does indeed make tracking devices. It's a bracelet that looks like a watch, and instead of using GPS it works on the cellular 911 system, only when activated.

Glad to hear the good news!
posted by pineapple at 1:14 PM on June 19, 2011

How do I thank all of you? I don't know how to express how grateful I am. Grandma is next to me trying to force feed me an orange right now (because apparently that's how she stays so healthy).

We found her June 18, 2011 9:32pm at a Muni bus stop heading East on 28th Ave and Fulton. She was wearing a light blue quilted Burberry coat under her black wool full length coat. Pink/black/white scarf. Black pants.

The police said there was no foul play, she had all her clothing and nothing appeared missing (she just told me she lost her bottom dentures =) don't you love it). She is in good health, she says her feet hurt but are starting to feel better. Grandma was found with a 1.89L bottle of apple juice and a bag of sandwich rolls (she didn't eat any) in a Lucky's bag. She believes she has misplaced her ID and bank book - we'll get those items replaced easily on Monday.

So we know that she made it as far as Lucky's on Fulton and Masonic because she had a receipt for apple juice, and as far as Great Highway and Fulton/Geary (she confirmed she made it to the ocean). I GUESS she's been traveling within this 3.6m radius for 30+ hours.

During casual conversation she has told several different stories, one where she believed she slept in her own bed on Friday night, but the last one where I asked her short questions sounded more "realistic." She left Friday to go to the bank. She could not figure out how to get there. She slept near storefronts (not Safeway) where there were other homeless people. She believes that this was the safest option at the time. I asked if she slept on the floor in doorways...her response was that all the good spots were taken earlyso she slept sitting up (not sure if floor or bench).

During her 2 day quest to find her bank she had asked several people the way, including a postman. She'd taken the bus at some point and nearly fallen while getting off, but a nice Muni driver moved to help her.

I'm so grateful for everyone that helped search for her, spread the word, blanketed SF with fliers, spoke to people about grandma's situation, and came up with all these wonderful, creative solutions and suggestions.

fake, you recharged us when some of us on the search party were thinking "now what?" I know that I was starting to l. When you told us about metafilter and the good work that's been done in some really scary gave me hope that we could find grandma again.

I will definitely be looking into tracking devices, following up with the Alz Assoc.

This sounds ridiculous, but it's been really hard to get any of her providers to outright say that she has Alz and dementia. I've asked what can be done about certain behaviors she's been exhibiting and they just say it's part of the normal aging process. Well, I relayed this info to the ER doctor and she looked at me strangely yesterday when I told her, and made the comment "You KNOW she has dementia and Alz. You need help to take care of her. Make her providers provide the care she needs, try them again." So I will also be making the rounds on Monday to get her better assistance, etc.

Thank you to everyone here. You're wonderful, compassionate, caring. My family and I are truly thankful and feel blessed to have you in our lives.

simulare, I'm going to see you in a few hours. I don't know what they gave Grandma in the ER, but she is super high-energy today and will probably talk your ear off, so prepare yourself!
posted by jiyueh at 5:25 PM on June 19, 2011 [22 favorites]

* Install double key locks on all the exterior doors, and keep the keys out of sight, so he can't open the doors on his own;

Please be careful with this vis a vis fire safety for everyone else in the home, especially if there aren't windows that can easily be broken and climbed through in an emergency. If there's a way to secure a key on a long piece of twine (so that it's not near the door but can be taken over to the door) in a hidden spot, that might work. It's just scary to think of someone being unable to find the key if, god forbid, there's a fire.
posted by needs more cowbell at 9:23 PM on June 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

YAY! Delighted grandma is home and is so well. Your family must just be so relived.

In case it has not been mentioned, I noticed when posting a link to another Ask that MedicAlert now offers a Safe Return system in association with the Alzheimer’s Association. I have not read deeply but it includes a GPS option. Even without that, the MedicAlert bracelet is so widely recognised, I think it's worth looking into in terms of being able to identify and assist a lost elder.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:50 PM on June 19, 2011

Oh, phew. Was thinking of her over the weekend. Relief.
posted by dorothyrose at 8:24 AM on June 20, 2011

You or someone from your family might benefit from talking to someone at the SF Department of Aging and Adult Services' Referral and Assistance Line ((415) 355-6700). The staff there are great and they have comprehensive knowledge about resources that are available to support older adults in the city. They will also know what resources are available in Mandarin.
posted by bigd at 9:45 PM on June 20, 2011

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