KENOSHA, Wis. — An 89-year-old woman was found dead outside an assisted living facility in Kenosha, and police believe she died from weather exposure.
Kenosha police said in a statement Tuesday that officers were called around 7:45 a.m. on Dec. 19 to Parkside Manor on 67th Street. They were called for a death investigation.
At the scene of the assisted living and memory care facility, officers found the woman deceased outside.
Police said they are investigating "with the potential for criminal charges." They are not identifying the person.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services confirmed to TMJ4 News that the state of Wisconsin is investigating the incident.
Parkside Manor Senior Living said they are heartbroken by the loss of one of their residents.
"Our deepest sympathy goes out to their family and friends," the facility said in a statement. "While we cannot discuss specifics or details, we are conducting a thorough investigation. We remain committed to serving seniors in a comfortable community where their care needs, happiness, and well-being are prioritized. We continuously strive to deliver the highest quality care in a homelike environment to our residents."
According to Mike Pochowski, the president of the Wisconsin Assisted Living Association (WALA), this is an extremely rare occurrence.
"I have not heard of this before in the state of Wisconsin. It’s a very tragic situation," said Pochowski. "And definitely our thoughts and prayers go out to the family. And always, the health, safety, and welfare of all residents in all facilities is always a top priority."
WALA offers support to thousands of assisted living centers across the state to improve quality of life.
Pochowski said adequate staffing — based on regular resident assessments — is key to health and safety at facilities. But he added that assisted living centers also have to prioritize residents' rights.
“That would include self-determination; least restrictive environment, freedom to come and go as they please, as well as freedom from seclusion, and also maintaining independence," said Pochowski.
Parkside Manor hasn't specified what kind of services it was providing the woman who died.
Pochowski said it's likely Wisconsin's Division of Quality Assurance will conduct a survey of Parkside Manor following the incident.
The severe weather that caused problems for so many people in the U.S. over the holidays arrived after this incident.
Normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Mild hypothermia sets in at about 95 degrees Fahrenheit, according to NBC News:
- At 91 degrees Fahrenheit, you can experience amnesia.
- At 82 degrees, you can lose consciousness
- Below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, you can have profound hypothermia and death can occur