Early this morning, my 72-year-old father (he's suffering from an extreme case of dementia) got up and locked our home from outside and wandered off.

Thankfully, I was awake and so I was able to get the door unlocked within minutes. By the time I got out, he was nowhere in sight.

I raced (on foot as I was panicked) within a 2 km radius of our location but no joy. I called up my sister and bro-in-law. They started patrolling the area in their car.

I searched nearest temples/parks, with no joy. Since it was still 8 am in the morning, I couldn't develop his pics.

We went to our area police station. They were very cooperative and quick in broadcasting my father's details over their WhatsApp group which covered the entire Delhi/NCR area.

By now it was 10 am. I got developed multiple sizes of his photos and ordered pamphlets for distribution.

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Meanwhile, my sister steered her car towards the Metro Station which is 3 km further down on the same road our house is located. Her gut feeling: he must have walked in a straight direction from home, lost in his thoughts.

She reached the station and... he was standing there!

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She got him back in the car and came back home. He wasn't ready to get out of the car, but she insisted and finally got him back inside the house.

I received the good news, canceled all the photo orders and returned home. We comforted him and eventually, he settled down. Phew!

Lesson learned: We were able to avert a major tragedy today, thanks to our presence of mind, a solid team effort, and a quick localized search within a 5 km radius from our location to locate Dad within 2 hours of his disappearance. Any further delay would have been disastrous.

If you have elder parents with dementia, please take extra care of them. Ensure that all doors in the house are locked 24x7 and never let them out of sight.

Hire a nurse if necessary, but make sure they have consistent company and they don't feel isolated due to your professional commitments.

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