A Silver Alert Bill passed in the Alabama house and now goes to the Alabama senate. The bill give helps find missing persons who suffer from Alzheimer’s.
Today, more than 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and the numbers are increasing, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Silver Alerts: What Are They?
Silver Alerts have a set of criteria and procedures for law enforcement which varies from state to state. They also may vary in the eligibility required to activate an alert, such as a specific age and/or diagnosis of cognitive impairment. For example, criteria specifies the eligibility of a person who can file a missing persons report, such as a spouse, legal custodian or agency. In addition, there is a protocol on how to verify that a person is missing.
Next, law enforcement implements the alert, using media, recorded calls, or highway signs. The focus is to locate someone whose disappearance poses a threat to the person’s health and safety, including serious bodily harm or death.
A great tip is always take recent photos of your older family members. Just as you do the kids.
You never know when that photo is going to be important. Even with your older family member who may not exhibit signs of dementia or confusion because even healthy seniors can go missing.
Silver Alert: General Criteria
Many states will recognize a young adult who may have the following conditions as meeting the criteria for a Silver Alert should they go missing:
- autism spectrum disorders
- fetal alcohol syndrome
- Down syndrome
- cerebral palsy
- severe learning disabilities
- epilepsy (seizure disorders)
- muscular dystrophy
- traumatic brain injury (either by an accident or due to stroke)
- blind (or extreme visually impaired)
- history of amnesia
- medical conditions which require medication that is life-threatening without. (Ex: insulin for diabetes, patient on dialysis, transplant patients)
- suicidal history or evidence to suggest the missing loved one is contemplating suicide. (note left behind, etc.)
IMPORTANT: Should you have difficulty having your missing loved one escalated to a Silver Alert Criteria, we advise to have his/her physician to phone your detective to explain the importance that they are in a life-threatening situation without his/her medication. Many times they may initiate upon a physician’s request.
Silver Alert: Current Alabama Status
Right now, current Alabama state law only says a missing senior citizen alert will go out if it meets certain guidelines.
The Silver Alert bills goes further, allowing a missing alert to be issued for someone suffering from Alzheimer’s and guidelines on how to find them.
HB 427 will also require specialized training for law enforcement officers. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 6 in 10 Alzheimer’s sufferers wander at some point during the course of the disease.
Silver Alert guidelines should be made uniform with a national register set up.