When spending your twilight years in a residential care home, you would expect life to be a little slower and certainly more sedate. However one man has proved you’re never too old to throw caution to the wind and live dangerously. Raffaele Panicucci stunned the Italian authorities when he made his escape from a residential care home – at the age of 87.
Describing his home as a place ‘full of old people’, the pensioner fled the home in the middle of the night, making his great escape in his trusty electric wheelchair.
When police rescued the man, he told officers he was bored with life in the care home, in Montemarciano, Italy.
Mr Paniucci, was unharmed by the experience, waited until the early hours of the morning to make his escape as it was quieter, and there were not many staff on duty in the hope that no one would notice he was gone.
He said: ‘It’s full of old people. I could not stand it any more.
‘Maybe people think I am crazy for escaping, but trust me, there I was going even more crazy.
‘Everyday is the same. There is no adventure and I just had to get out and get some space of my own.
‘I may have lost my mobility but I have not lost my nerve and my sense of adventure.’
The story bears similarities to the novel The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.
In the book, written by Swedish author Jonas Jonasson, protagonist Allan Karlsson flees a retirement home on the eve of his 100th birthday and sets off on an adventure as he is chased by police.
Police in Montemarciano revealed they received calls from various drivers who saw the old man on his wheelchair slowing them on the road and creating queues.
One motorist said: ‘It was 3am, completely dark and suddenly in my headlights I saw an elderly man in a wheelchair, trying to drive onto the motorway. I flashed at him to stop but he continued. He seemed very determined.
‘I called the police as he was a danger to himself and to other motorists. I thought at first he was lost or confused but then I saw he must have been very focused to move as fast as he could in his electric wheelchair.’
Police stopped him right in front of the entrance to the Italian national A1 highway.
An ambulance was called to pick up the exhausted 87-year-old and take him back to the home.
Interviewed on local television he said: ‘I was not planning on escaping forever, I am back there now, but at least I have a good story to tell the other residents.
‘For the time being I will be staying put here.’