An 81-year-old man is not home yet, three days after he went missing from his house in Alberta, Canada. Kenneth Myatt, an Alzheimer's patient was reported missing by his wife Mary.
Alberta police have called off the two day ground search and instead appealed to the public for help in tracking the elder suffering from dementia.
Says police spokesman Lisa Lammi: "We've called off the ground search. By now he could be anywhere in the city.
"We really need people's help to keep giving us tips to follow. Check your backyards, and check your outbuildings. This isn't just about a police search anymore, it's about the entire community effort", she urged.
Myatt's son, Neal says although his father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's about two years ago, he had never been a wanderer. Until his disappearance over the weekend, Kenneth's cognitive deterioration had been slow and predictable.
Yet University of Alberta dementia expert Dr. Bonnie Dobbs, with the medical faculty's Care of the Elderly division, is of the opinion that Kenneth sounds like the 60 percent of Alzheimer's patients who wander - an unexplained behavior that appears disoriented and aimless, although some experts say it indicates need for stimulation.
Wandering accounts for the institutionalization of around 33 percent of Alzheimer's patients, Dobbs says. The behavior causes anxiety among caregivers who can no longer trust their wards to stay indoors.
"Unpredictable behavior is one of the biggest challenges in Alzheimer's disease," Dobbs states. "It's not always the case, but people do wander off for no reason, and their cognitive impairment makes it necessary for others to have to look for them."