A man with dementia was reunited with his family on Friday, thanks to a woman playing Pokémon GO.
Lost And Found A State Away
Homer Howard has been missing from his home in Maineville, Ohio, but was luckily found in another state by Allison Hines.
Hines found the 83-year-old at the Kenney Shields Park in Covington, Kentucky. Hines goes to the park every day because it is a designated Pokestop, a location with in-game supplies for the Pokémon GO.
On Friday morning, Hines came across a stranger who appears needing help. Hines, a Navy veteran, passed the elderly man waving to him because of his navy baseball cap.
Hines, however, decided to go back and check on the old man. She talked with Howard who told her his name. They soon realized that Howard has strayed too far from his home. Howard himself was surprised to find out he was no longer in Ohio.
It is not yet clear how the old man made his way too far south, but his daughters, Tammy Richardson and Tonya Geringer, reported him missing 24 hours earlier. Howard was safely returned home on Friday evening.
"I'm very grateful for Pokémon GO," Hines said. "What I loved about it is, when I played its it got me out in the community. It was a social game. Today, it saved a man's life."
Wandering Behavior In Adults With Dementia
Dementia is an irreversible and progressive brain disease affecting about 5.4 million Americans. The condition is the sixth leading cause of death among adults and the fifth top cause of death in people 65 years old and above.
Older adults suffering from dementia typically get lost through wandering behavior. Experts said that six out of 10 people with dementia will wander. They may not remember their name and address.
Although the cause of Alzheimer's disease and other dementia are not yet fully understood, researchers think that lifestyle, genetics, and the environment are contributing factors. The condition has no cure, but researchers have been conducting studies to better understand this neurological disease, which could pave way for more effective treatments.
In a study published earlier this month, researchers successfully remove from the human brain a gene that causes Alzheimer's disease. The researchers could pave way for findings the elusive cure for the condition.