Local News

Family Wants Answers About Alzheimer's Patient At Cary Adult Care Facility

Posted January 14, 2004

— A pair of good Samaritans found an Alzheimer's patient on the street after he wandered away from an adult care facility, but the man's family said that is not the story they were told. In fact, they said they were told he wandered away again earlier in the week.

Ruth Seidenberg said Alterra did not tell her the truth after her 89-year-old husband, Joseph, wandered away from the adult care facility Saturday night.

"It didn't happen the way I was told," she said. "They told me they knew he was missing and it took 30 minutes to find him."

Seidenberg was told that Joseph, who suffers from Alzheimer's, was found outside of the front door of the facility, but after learning of news reports, she found out that two good Samaritans Tara Cobb and Corinne Hill actually found him at the edge of Chapel Hill Road in a wheelchair.

"They did not think that he had been gone very long, but he was pretty cold," Hill said.

"He's just really lucky that he didn't roll into a car," Seidenberg said.

The Wake County Human Services Department is looking into the incident. A representative told WRAL that he did say the department will visit Alterra with a state consultant Thursday. The representative said investigators will check to see if the security system is working and ask Alterra how the incident was reported to the Seidenbergs.

Seidenberg said she likes the staff at Alterra, but when she pays $5,000 a month for her husband's care, she feels that she is entitled to some answers.

"They could have told me the truth. They didn't have to lie about it," he said.

County officials said Alterra, in recent years, has had fewer complaints than other facilities like it in Wake County. The state requires facilities like Alterra to have a plan in place for wandering residents, but a county official said it a difficult thing to regulate because there is no state requirement for what to include in that plan.

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