Elderly woman injured after wandering from Sparta facility

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SPARTA, Mich. (WOOD) — The family of an 85-year-old woman who broke her shoulder after wandering away from an assisted-living home in Sparta is concerned it could happen again.

Meadowlark Retirement Village isn’t built as a secure environment but a spokesperson told 24 Hour News 8 they do checks on their residents every two hours.

Patricia Gee was reportedly checked on at 1:45 a.m. Friday, but found outside around 3:15 a.m. It’s unclear how long she had been outside.

Patricia Gee
Patricia Gee, 85, broke her shoulder when she wandered away from the Meadowlark Retirement Village on Nov. 18, 2016.

Gee’s relatives said they moved her into Meadowlark a couple of months ago because she sometimes gets confused about her surroundings.

Granddaughter Tarrah Gee-Bliss said her grandma woke up from a dream before wandering outside.

“She had a dream that her dog got outside and ran away from her and she wouldn’t come back. So that’s what she was going to do, go outside to find the dog,” Gee-Bliss explained.

Gee only got about a 100 feet from the facility when she fell and broke her shoulder. A neighbor heard her screams and called Sparta police.

“It’s not unusual that we’ve had some people that come and go and they have been very good and they have in the past, if they have someone getting out when they shouldn’t be, they take care of it promptly,” Sparta Police Chief Andrew Milanowski told 24 Hour News 8.

Gee’s family is hopeful she’ll recover, but worry about this happening again.

“It wasn’t a bad night, but if it was tonight or further into the winter it would’ve been cold and she would’ve suffered from hypothermia and who knows what else could’ve happened to her laying there,” said Gee-Bliss. “There are other patients in there with similar memory issues. I don’t want it to happen again to somebody else’s grandma or grandpa or mom or dad. I want to make sure they’re safe.”

State records show Meadowlark Retirement Village does not have any complaints against it.

The spokesperson for the facility added they’re in the process of building a more secure environment for residents who need it. That memory care unit is expected to be completed within two months.