WILTON — An elderly man is lucky to be alive after he was found wandering in the street without a jacket amid frigid temperatures early Thursday morning, said Wilton Police Chief Heidi Wilcox.

A police officer noticed the man, who is in his mid-70s, stumbling in the road downtown around 1:30 a.m. It was about 5 degrees at the time and an ambulance was called to the scene, keeping the man warm until his family members arrived, Wilcox said.

“The gentleman is OK,” she said, adding, “We’re all lucky that he was found in time because things could have turned out much differently.”

The man has been suffering from symptoms of dementia and was released Thursday into the care of family members, who have been working hard to keep him living in his home, Wilcox said.

The incident highlighted a unique problem faced by emergency responders, however, prompting Wilcox to seek a way to better identify residents with special needs during an emergency.

The police officer had no way Thursday morning to identify the man and contact family members, but the NorthStar paramedic who responded knew the man and his family, Wilcox said.

“We were so fortunate to get a medic who knew this fellow and to be able to keep him warm and comforted until his family arrived,” she said

Taking the man to the hospital would have been much more traumatic for him and the family, Wilcox said.

Wilcox encouraged the community to provide the town’s police department with information about residents who may have medical or mental conditions that demand special attention.

It is a voluntary service Wilcox plans to offer to people who want to make police aware of these issues, she said.

“Just something as simple as a photo to keep in a file to confirm who they are,” Wilcox said.

The department will also take documents with emergency contacts and other vital information about the person. Wilcox asked for people interested in participating to call the department at 645-3876.

There are also new global positioning devices and other identification technologies to help at-home caregivers of dementia patients, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

People seeking information about caring for dementia patients can contact the Alzheimer’s Association, Maine Chapter at 772-0115.

 

David Robinson — 861-9287

[email protected]


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