Family: ‘Strong-willed’ Coweta woman improving in hospital

Eleanor Alexander’s family may never know why the 78-year-old walked away from her Coweta County home. Because she has dementia, Alexander may have no explanation.

But even when the search for Alexander hit day four, the woman’s family didn’t lose hope she would be found.

“She’s tough,” Becky Alexander said of her mother-in-law. “If anybody was going to survive three and a half days in the woods, it was going to be her.”

Searchers found Eleanor Alexander in the woods Tuesday afternoon less than a mile from her Newnan-area home. Alexander was alive, but in critical condition. But to the dozens of Coweta County deputies, volunteers and family members involved in the search, finding the woman alive was nothing short of amazing. She remained at Atlanta Medical Center in critical condition on Wednesday, but continues to improve, her family said.

“To me, she looks more like herself,” Becky Alexander told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Doctors remain positive but cautious that the grandmother of two will recover from injuries, mostly external and attributed to being outside in only bed clothes and slippers for so many hours. Since Eleanor Alexander arrived at the hospital by helicopter, doctors have been checking her constantly, performing medical tests to avoid missing other injuries, her family said.

Because she was off her medication for several days, Alexander’s family isn’t sure she’ll remember much about why she left her home sometime between late Friday and early Saturday. Alexander lives alone, but her son and daughter-in-law live next door. Becky Alexander said family members check on the older woman so often, Eleanor Alexander gets annoyed.

“Like most of us, she’s very strong-willed and very independent and wants to do her own thing,” Becky Alexander said. “And she wants to do things herself.”

It’s unknown how long Eleanor Alexander will be in the hospital, or where she’ll live once she is released. Until then, her family is thrilled she’s safe, getting the care she needs.