States, Congress Mull 'Silver Alert' for Missing Elderly

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2009 2:18 PM CDT
Silver Alerts, like Amber Alerts, could be broadcast on highway signs.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – States across the US are moving to create procedures that would alert the public about older people in the grips of dementia who’ve gone missing, the AP reports. The so-called “Silver Alert” system has already been taken up by 15 states, and the House has approved a national measure. Statistically, around 60% of Alzheimer’s patients, and those similarly impaired, will wander from caregivers at least once.

“To find somebody, it takes bodies, people,” one advocate told Congress. “This recruits so many extra sets of eyes.” The Silver Alert would mimic the Amber Alert issued when young children are missing, which is often broadcast to digital highway signs. “Any system that would provide information would be a great idea to help if someone who’s a vulnerable person is missing,” said the child of a long-missing parent.