Alzheimer's organization says welfare checks can prevent tragedy - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Alzheimer's organization says welfare checks can prevent tragedy

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Source: MGN Online Source: MGN Online
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

North Alabama authorities say an elderly woman suffering from Alzheimer's had been living with her deceased husband for a month.

Decatur Police officers responded to the home of 78-year-old Doris Kirby and her husband, 75-year-old Jessie Claude Kirby Friday to conduct a welfare check. Family and friends were concerned because they had not heard from the couple in months.

Officers found Doris in poor health and realized that Jessie had passed away.

"It's so sad to think of her lost and alone in that environment for a month," said Miller Piggott, Executive Director for Alzheimer's of Central Alabama.

Piggott explains how something like this could happen.

"People with dementia often lose incentive, they don't have a good sense of time and so the length of time, the number of days. She doesn't have the ability to reason, to think through an action plan and follow though," said Piggott.

Jessie Kirby died of natural causes according to authorities. Piggott says to avoid a situation like this one, family member's or caretakers have to get beyond simply asking if the person they're caring for is ok, but actually seeing if they're OK.

"Open the refrigerator door. That's a really big indicator of healthy living going on in a household or not. If the food is spoiling in the house, if there's no food in the house that's an indicator there may be a problem," said Piggott.

Piggott says neighbors play a vital role by seeing changes in habits. If lights aren't coming on at night there's a chance there could be a problem. She says to reach out and make sure that person is safe.

Copyright 2014 WBRC. All rights reserved.

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