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Family: Facility didn't monitor man found dead after Silver Alert

Posted June 7, 2011

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— The family of a man who was found dead Monday after walking away from an assisted living home in Garner says that his caregivers failed to monitor him.

Authorities recovered the body of 62-year-old Dallas Sherwood Stevens around 10:30 a.m. in a small pasture just off N.C. Highway 50 near Timber Drive.

They have not yet determined a cause of death, and the case is still under investigation.

Garner police said Stevens walked away from Aversboro Assisted Living, about a mile away, around 8:15 a.m. Sunday. That prompted state authorities to issue a Silver Alert to notify the public about his disappearance.

A spokeswoman for the facility said that residents are allowed to leave and return on their own but are supposed to sign in or out when they do. Stevens did not sign out, authorities said.

"As soon as we realized he was gone without signing out, we immediately began looking for him and immediately alerted the Garner police," said facility spokeswoman Deborah Meyer.

Stevens' family said he suffered from dementia, congestive heart failure, diabetes and other health problems. They said he was so weak that he had trouble walking and it would have taken him a long time to get off the property.

"He doesn't walk well enough to be missing," his sister, Lonnie Walker, said Tuesday. "He walked like a 90-year-old man on a cane."

Family: Facility didn't monitor man found dead after Silver Alert Family: Facility didn't monitor man found dead after Silver Alert

Stevens had only been at Aversboro since last Thursday, his family said. They are awaiting the results of an autopsy report to decide whether they'll take legal action.

The state Department of Health and Human Services is also investigating whether the facility did anything wrong.

The family believes his caregivers were negligent.

"Due to his medical and mental status, they should have been monitoring him every two to four hours, so we find them totally responsible for his death," said Ernest Stevens, Dallas Stevens' nephew.

"They knew all his conditions, so we find them negligent for not providing him with safety, quality of life and quality of care," Ernest Stevens added.

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  • chevybelair57sd Jun 8, 2011

    Things don't add up here, the man obviously walked pretty good and knew where he was going. Sounds like his family didn't know him very well or misguided the facility. I smell a huge lawsuit here and a rat.

  • koolnout Jun 8, 2011

    The Aversboro Rd facility is not just assisted living.

  • shortcake53 Jun 8, 2011

    If this facility wasnt going to be able to meet this mans needs, then they had no business admitting him. The family has a right to assume reasonable care, as the Assisted Living home accepted their payment to have him live there. I do not believe a family would choose a living facility unless they trusted it and felt their loved one would be safe and cared for there.

  • happy2.0 Jun 8, 2011

    MECU0905 - dementia comes in many, many different forms. You can have dementia and live in asst living. Dementia doesn't automatically equal wandering off. There are a number of residents at my dad's facility with different stages of dementia. One lady sits and laughes like a wild person 24/7. Another can't remember what she ate 5 min before, another can't stay awake for longer than a 1/2 hour. None of them are at risk of wandering off. So, it's hard to say "Dementia = lock down". It doesn't necessarily. Obviously, in this case, it would have been the right thing to do.

    carroln - I'm glad you have all the answers. Yes, these businesses are in it for the money. But no, they aren't all bad. Is the family placing blame in the wrong place? Perhaps, but I don't believe they should be blamed either.

  • miketroll3572 Jun 8, 2011

    They said he was so weak that he had trouble walking and it would have taken him a long time to get off the property.

    Aparently not!

  • MECU0905 Jun 8, 2011

    I can't even imagine having a facility for people with dementia where they were free to come and go. It's just doesn't make sense! They have diminished brain function and often are incapable of making rational decision for their well being, hence the reason they are in the facility in the first place.

  • carroln Jun 8, 2011

    happy 2.o The fact is the family is blamming somebody else for what they should have been doin!!True people have to work, but, you also make sacrifices in these cases. I know I wouldnt put my family in a nursing home because i have worked at them,not as an employee but as a contractor and I have never seen one yet that treats the people in them.. like they should be treated. Having said that I too would not go to a nursing facility i would rather be left for dead because thats about what you get. Maybe not all of them but most are in it for the money, not to help someone!SO How dare me? Easy.. freedom of speech

  • justbekind Jun 8, 2011

    All this family can see at this time is dollar signs and not where they at some level may be at fault . He sadly was in the wrong type of home for his illness. I know I have relatives in nursing homes with varied types of dementia.

  • dirkdiggler Jun 8, 2011

    "Since when is an "assisted living" facility required to do 2-4 hr "body" checks. My grandmother would've been po'd if someone was banging on her apartment door every 2 hrs."

    LOL! I guess there are facilities with different levels of assistance.

  • Deb1003 Jun 8, 2011

    Since when is an "assisted living" facility required to do 2-4 hr "body" checks. My grandmother would've been po'd if someone was banging on her apartment door every 2 hrs.

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