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Missing Arkansas Man with Alzheimer's at Risk of Cold Exposure


Hayward Johnson, 77, walked away from his Little Rock home Thursday afternoon wearing green overall, a black puffy jacket, and a black and gold baseball cap. Johnson’s family reports that his is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

The weather in center Arkansas has been in the mid-30s during the day, but down into the 20’s at night. Fortunately, it has been dry. There is significant concern of hypothermia affecting Johnson’s safety as family, friends, and community continue to search for him.

Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures results in your body losing heat faster than it can be produced. The result is hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature.

Hypothermia is most likely at very cold temperatures, but it can occur even at cool temperatures (above 40°F) if a person becomes chilled from rain, sweat, or submersion in cold water.

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Victims of hypothermia are often (1) elderly people with inadequate food, clothing, or heating; (2) babies sleeping in cold bedrooms; (3) people who remain outdoors for long periods—the homeless, hikers, hunters, etc.; and (4) people who drink alcohol or use illicit drugs.

Warning signs of hypothermia in adults include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, and drowsiness. The added confusion and memory loss in a person with Alzheimer’s put them at risk of even more injury.

A body temperature below 95° is considered an emergency requiring immediate medical attention. While waiting for medical attention to arrive, begin warming the person by getting them to a warm room or shelter. Remove any wet clothing. Provide blankets and warm, dry clothing. If the person is conscious, warm beverages can help increase the body temperature. Do not give alcoholic beverages.

Little Rock Police need your help finding a missing Alzheimer's patient. If you've seen him, call 371-4660, the detective's division at the Little Rock Police Department.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention