One family in Colorado Springs, Colorado got a scare this weekend after 83-year-old Albert Tumblin went missing after driving to a local store to purchase a birthday card for his daughter. Tumblin left the home at 2 p.m. Friday. Hours later, Tumblin still hadn’t shown up, and his family was left wondering what could have happened, or where he could be — fearing the worst.
Tumblin, though, had simply become disoriented. The elderly father suffers from mild dementia and lost track of where he was. “I just made the wrong turn and kept going,” he said in an interview with KRDO News. “I couldn’t realize what direction or where I was going.”
After becoming disoriented, Tumblin continued to drive, only to be pulled over at 4 a.m. Saturday morning by an officer who suspected DUI. The officer administered a sobriety test, which Tumblin passed, so he was allowed to continue. Tumblin’s son, Albert Tumblr Jr., thinks this was a mistake on their part. “The officer sure didn’t protect him by letting him back in the car and drive off,” he said.
Tumblin continued to drive, and by Sunday, had almost made it to Nebraska before he turned back and arrived in the city of Pueblo. There, he was able to find help via a retired police officer, who helped him get back to his family on Monday morning — almost 72 hours after he originally left. His family is happy to see him back safe and sound, and they now realize some changes will have to be made. “I know he likes his independence, but it’s just time for us to be a little more cautious,” said Tumblin Jr., explaining that his father would no longer be driving by himself.
Every week, elderly people go missing across the U.S., often as a result of disorientation that can make it difficult to get back home or to a familiar place. Experts recommend that family members equip their elderly relatives with either safe alert bracelets or easy-to-use cell phones so that they can access help if trouble arises. “