Thank you to the Durban public for their outpouring of support in helping to locate missing elder, James de Bryn, who went missing in the Durban CBD on Tuesday 8 January 2019.
“We are completely overwhelmed by the level of support, care and concern shown by community groups, members of the public and Tafta volunteers who worked tirelessly to find Mr de Bryn,” said Tafta CEO Femada Shamam.
A resident of our John Dunn House in Wentworth, Mr de Bryn was safely transported back home on Wednesday, 9 January after going missing from Addington Hospital in central Durban. The 79 year old was accompanied by his carer to the hospital, for a routine check-up early on Tuesday morning. De Bryn’s carer stood in line to collect his hospital file while he sat nearby to wait. According to the carer, she lost sight of him for just a minute and when she looked up again, he was missing.
The carer quickly alerted hospital staff and after failing to find him in the hospital, and in the surrounding area, alerted Tafta staff and reported him missing at the Point police station. Volunteer search parties were sent out in search of de Bryn and a callout was made on social media platforms which went viral as caring and concerned members of the public shared the missing elder’s picture.
After Tafta staff again walked Durban streets on Wednesday morning, 9 January 2019, handing out flyers and posters, de Bryn was spotted by Bulelani Ndlovu, a member of the public and trainee Metro police officer who had been handed the flyer moments earlier. Ndlovu said that her training has encouraged her to be more alert, especially when it came to caring for the elderly: “We must serve the community, especially the elderly, we must provide good care, service – be patient and accommodate the elderly.” She waited with de Bryn until he was fetched and transported back home where he was met with a hero’s welcome by staff and fellow elders.
De Bryn does not recollect much of his experience.
“Mr de Bryn is a highly intelligent, high functioning man,” Shamam said. “He had a momentary lapse in memory and ended up leaving the hospital. Thankfully, good people around him came to his rescue, but this incident hopefully highlights the importance of always being aware of people with conditions like dementia and the level of care and attention they require constantly.”