Missing senior with dementia found safe

A Winnipeg senior living with dementia was safely located Thursday after being missing for nearly 24 hours.

Winnipeg police confirm man missing for nearly 24 hours found safe

Albert Weber, a 59-year-old Winnipeg man with dementia, was safely located in the city after being missing for nearly 24 hours. 1:57

A Winnipeg senior living with dementia was safely located on Thursday, after being missing for nearly 24 hours.

Albert Weber, 59, went missing in St. Boniface Wednesday night. (Aadel Haleem/CBC)

Albert Weber, 59, has dementia and went missing from the Tache Centre in St. Boniface around 7 p.m. Wednesday.

A team of about 30 family, friends, police, cadets and security guards searched for Weber for hours. One of the search members found him on Thursday afternoon.

His daughter, Jacqueline Weber, said she's relieved her father is OK.

"He was missing all through the night, so we were very scared about how he would have handled the night by himself," she told CBC News in an interview.

"But he has smiles on his face and he said he just wanted to walk."

Jacqueline Weber said her father somehow slipped out of the care home, where he was taking part in a day program. She said the facility obviously needs to change its security system.

Difficult balance between safety, freedom

Officials from Tache Centre said Weber's case sheds light on the difficulties caregivers face when caring for younger people living with dementia. They are often harder to locate as they are more mobile, officials said.

The program Weber was attending was a weekly adult day program that aims to provide respite for families and an opportunity for people with dementia to socialize.

"It’s unfortunate that we didn’t prevent him from leaving," said Tache Centre CEO Charles Gagne.

Centre officials added it is sometimes difficult to strike a balance between safety and freedom for visitors as they are adults and are free to go.

Weber was watching a hockey game, waiting for his Vital Transit bus, when he went missing. Staff thought he had gone to a bathroom, but when they realized he wasn’t there they called a Code Yellow and the area was searched.

It was estimated Weber was missing for about 15 minutes before the Code Yellow was called.

Gagne said some people have wandered off before but are usually found within the hour.

"This is unchartered territory for us. We have never been down this path," said Gagne. "This has been the longest [disappearance] we have ever experienced."