Local Media Alert For Lost Seniors: “The Silver Alert”

The very fear of your loved one with dementia wandering away from your home could become a reality.  “Experts report that 60 percent of people with Alzheimer’s disease will wander at some

point during the progression of the disease, and half of those will become lost and separated from a loved one. Using the incident rate of one critical wanderer per year per 1,000 persons over the age of 65 (1998 Census figures), the expected total of critical wanderer incidents reported to local law enforcement comes to 31,000 cases a year.  Research suggests that most people become lost within close proximity to their home,” as stated in the Report, LOST and… FOUND by the Alzheimer’s Foundation, June 2012.

The State of Colorado, Department of Public Safety has recognized these staggering statistics and has established a Missing Senior Citizen and Person with Developmental Disabilities Alert Program (24-33.5-415.8)(individuals with dementia, Parkinsons, diabetes, etc.). This is very similar to the Amber Alert Program, which alerts the public of any missing child.

The programming procedure for The Silver Alert entails the family reporting the description of the missing senior along with the last know location to law enforcement.  This data is relayed to participating radio and tv stations, and other media outlets in Colorado.  The public notices will be placed along the media every 15 minutes for 2 hours thereafter on 30 min intervals until the individual is placed.

This alert program has been implemented in some variation nationwide to protect the most vulnerable elders.  Keeping seniors safe and comfortable should be the number one priority for everyone!
Editor’s Note: Article submitted by Karen Owen Lee, owner of Housing Options for Seniors and author of The Caring Code: What Boomers Need To Know About Seniors.  She can be reached at 303-875-4466 or by email atKaren@KarenOwenLee.com