Belmont councillor picks up on missing woman's dementia and helps to get her home safely
A Sutton councillor showed ‘great community spirit’ by looking after a missing dementia sufferer and helping her to get home.
Belmont ward councillor Pamela Picknett sat next to a 90-year-old woman on the 407 bus when she was on her way to a scrutiny meeting on Wednesday evening.
However, alarm bells soon started ringing for Coun Picknett, whose mother suffered from dementia, when the woman kept asking her if she was going in the right direction.
Coun Picknett took the lady to Sutton police station and was shocked to discover she had been reported as missing just half an hour before.
She has been praised by the police for picking up on the woman's vulnerability.
Coun Picknett said it was important for people to look out for the signs of dementia and charities such as Age UK were running campaigns raising awareness of the illness.
Coun Picknett said: "She said ‘Am I going in the right direction?’
"She started saying ‘I don’t recognise any of these. It’s dark, I don’t know where I am’.
"My mother had dementia – you just think this isn’t right.
"I was going to the scrutiny meeting hoping to get there early. The lady had an envelope with her address on it. I said ‘right we will get off early and go into the police station'.
"It turned out she was listed down as missing – I was gobsmacked. They contacted people and took her home.
"It’s good she was taken home. I hope she’s OK. It was cold as well – what would have happened when the bus came to an end of its journey? I don’t like to think about it.
"You don’t know who you come across in the outside world – but hopefully people do the right thing."
A Sutton police spokesman said: "Police would like to thank Coun Picknett for the way she picked up on this woman’s vulnerability and then proceeded to take responsibility for helping to keep this woman safe.
"The councillor’s actions illustrate the great community spirit that exists, but doesn’t often make the headlines, in Sutton borough."
Tens of thousands of pharmacists, bus drivers and bank staff are being trained to recognise the signs of dementia to fight against the disease after David Cameron promised to lead a national fightback against the illness.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has called on every section of society to step up and help tackle the illness.
Symptoms of dementia include memory loss, increasing difficulties with tasks, becoming confused and difficulties finding the right words.
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