Saskatoon senior with dementia demonstrates need for advocate

It wasn't until Mary was found wandering near the river without shoes or a coat that she was moved to a long term care facility.

Alone and suffering from dementia, senior didn't get help she needed until family friend stepped in

Sheri Hodgson says Saskatchewan seniors need advocates. (CBC)

In mid-February, the future didn't look promising for Mary.

The 85-year-old was suffering from dementia but still lived in an apartment. It wasn't until she was found wandering near the river without shoes or a coat that she was moved to a long-term care facility.

Family friend Sheri Hodgson said Mary has no family, and as a friend, she had no legal authority to advocate for her. 

Still, Hodgson stepped in to help. But she said seniors in Mary's position need an advocate, who will make sure they get the help they need.

Hodgson said Mary's condition started to deteriorate in 2012, after her husband died.

"We had to have the stove disconnected because she was turning all the burners on full blast, she was touching them with her hands, she was starting fires in her apartment,"  Hodgson said.

Even though Hodgson was preparing food for her, Mary wasn't eating.

"She was losing weight, she was quite dirty, she wouldn't bathe properly," she said.

That has all changed since Mary was moved into the long term care home. She has put on 15 pounds in the last six weeks, leaving Hodgson relieved. "She's looked after, she's fed and she's safe."

The experience has taught Hodgson a lesson.

"I will move into a seniors home as soon as I can, so I don't end up in this position."

With files from Saskatoon Morning