Elderly US couple escape from assisted living facility in Tennessee using Morse code

Sylvia Looi
·1-min read
An elderly couple managed to escape from an assisted living facility in Tennessee, US by using military experience with Morse code. — Istock.com pic via AFP
An elderly couple managed to escape from an assisted living facility in Tennessee, US by using military experience with Morse code. — Istock.com pic via AFP

KUALA LUMPUR, May 4 — An assisted living facility in Lebanon, Tennessee has been fined US$2,000 (RM8,233) after an elderly couple broke out by using Morse code.

Quoting documents from the Tennessee Health Department, local publication The Tennessean reported that the couple had deciphered and memorised the code to an electronic door lock before briefly escaping from the secure memory unit.

The unidentified couple, who have dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, went missing from Elmcroft of Lebanon for about 30 minutes before a stranger found them walking down a road two blocks from the facility.

Once back at Elmcroft, curious staff asked how the couple could have escaped from the facility, which is secured by a locked door with an electronic keypad.

The man said he “previously worked with Morse code in the military” and was able to use this experience to learn the door code by listening as staff punched numbers into the keypad.

The assisted living facility also told state regulators that to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future, it would check on residents more frequently besides changing all its exit codes.

As for the man who escaped, he would be given “walking time outside the facility with a staff member present” but there was no mention about his wife.

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