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Daughter of missing senior calls for critical incident review, continues ground search

The daughter of a missing Winnipeg man with dementia is calling on the province to review his case as a critical incident.

Britt Moberg told reporters Sunday she believes her father, 81-year-old Earl Moberg, is dead — and that his death was avoidable.

“This was a traumatic death, and… it was preventable, I believe, if he had the timely and appropriate supports,” she said.

Earl Moberg, who lived with dementia and was known to wander, left home on Dec. 12, 2023. His last known location was near the Kildonan Settler’s Bridge. Despite police issuing a silver alert and community searches, his whereabouts are still unknown.

In a letter to the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA), Health Minister Uzoma Asagwara, and the Critical Incident Review Committee (CIRC), Britt Moberg details the progression of her father’s dementia, and his interactions with provincial support services.

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The letter calls for the province to “identify deficiencies in the interest of making recommendations that can be implemented to prevent this from happening to other vulnerable seniors with dementia.”

“I just don’t want to see this happen to anybody,” said Britt Moberg.

“This is constantly going through my mind. I haven’t slept properly in months at this point.”

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According to provincial legislation, a critical incident is “an unintended event that occurs when health services are provided to an individual and results in a consequence to him or her that is serious and undesired.” This can include serious injury and death.

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Britt’s letter describes how despite Earl Moberg’s doctor recommending 24-hour supervision, Moberg was offered one day of Adult Day Programming per week. Earl Moberg also received just one homecare visit on Dec. 12, 2023 — the day he went missing.

In a statement to Global News, the WRHA said they had received Moberg’s letter and were continuing to “review documentation and speak to those involved in Mr. Moberg’s care to determine if it meets the criteria of a critical incident.”

“I believe that there is a need for some more services for people out there,” said Britt Moberg, adding long wait times for services is also an issue.

It’s a problem Alzheimer’s Society of Manitoba CEO Erin Crawford hears often.

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“The resources going towards dementia care right now are not adequate to meet the need that is there,” she said. “There is inadequate resources in areas like home care, which provides critical respite services to families, long term care, which is a reality for many families that they have to consider in order to keep somebody safe.”

“It’s a real fear that people have that they may not be able to keep somebody safe.”

She adds caregivers often face burnout as they navigate the health-care system and look after their loved ones.

“Families very often are left trying to figure it out as best they can, and it is a huge amount of stress on people,” she said.

Britt Moberg said she reached out to Rachelle Shott, the MLA for Kildonan-River East, where her father lived, for support.

“This is just something that any good neighbour would do for another neighbour,” said Shott.

Britt Moberg is also advocating for silver alerts on cellphones, similar to amber alerts.

On Sunday, the Bear Clan Patrol led a group of volunteers on a ground search through the Riverbend area. Britt Moberg says it’s been inspiring to see people come out to support her family.

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“I do consider myself to be a pretty capable person. But this has been so, so difficult,” she said.

“It’s really been giving strength to be able to come out here and see people showing up and taking time on their Sunday to come out and help search for my dad. And I know that they’re here because they’re thinking about their loved ones too.”

&© 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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