Elderly Couple Uses Morse Code To Escape Secure Assisted Living Facility

by : Julia Banim on : 01 May 2021 17:16
Elderly Couple Uses Morse Code To Escape Secure Assisted Living FacilityShutterstock

An elderly couple have used Morse code to escape from their assisted living facility.

The unnamed husband and wife, who reportedly suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s, had been living together in an assisted living facility in Lebanon, Tennessee.


The part of the facility where they both lived was kept secure with an electronic locked door. However, this proved no barrier for the elderly code crackers.

Morse codePA Images

According to Tennessee Department of Health documents, obtained by The Tennessean through a public records request, the couple were able to draw from their past military experience with Morse code to make their own great escape.

According to the documents, the pair went missing from Elmcroft of Lebanon for approximately 30 minutes on March 2, and were eventually spotted walking down a road two blocks from the living facility by a passing stranger.


Upon their return to Elmcroft, staff quizzed the couple about how they’d managed to break free from the facility’s memory unit, which is understood to be secured by a locked door fitted with an electronic keypad.

The husband explained he had ‘previously worked with Morse code in the military’ and so had been able to utilise his skills to memorise the door code, listening in as staff pressed numbers on the keypad.

ElmscroftElmscroft Senior Living

In a statement cited by The Tennessean, an Elmcroft representative said:


The safety of our residents is the top priority at our senior living community. We are thankful both residents were returned to the community safely.

We reported the situation to the state and their family immediately after it happened and fully cooperated with the state during its review.

Following the escape, state officials reportedly handed Elmcroft a $2,000 fine. The facility, which has since changed its door codes, told state regulators that staff will work to prevent repeat incidents by checking in on residents on a more frequent basis.

Furthermore, the escaped husband will be now scheduled in for ‘walking time outside the facility with a staff member present’ going forward.

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: Life, escape, Now, tennessee


The Tennessean
  1. The Tennessean

    Elderly couple uses military Morse Code training to escape Tennessee assisted living facility