State Expands The "Amber Alert" System to Include "Silver Alert" for Elderly

The Amber Alert system in New York state has just been expanded to include elderly people suffering from Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia who wander off from their homes.  "The first hours after someone goes missing are the most critical, and we know that prompt notification of police and the community greatly increases the chances that a missing person will be safely recovered," said New York Governor, David Paterson.

In January, an 83-year-old  woman diagnosed with dementia, walked away from her home and never returned. Police just recently discovered her remains.  Friends and family spent months looking for her and advocates for the elderly say cases like that one could be different if people suffering from dementia are covered by an expanded Amber Alert system.  Eleven other states have created the so-called "Silver Alert" system.

"I'm not sure of the circumstances of that case but it is possible with a silver alert, law enforcement and the public would have been enlisted to look for her before she met her demise," said the Vice President of Lifespan, a non-profit agency that assists the elderly.

The President of the Coalition of Alzheimer's Association Chapters in New York State said, "Over 60 percent of persons with Alzheimer's or a related dementia will wander at some time during the disease and if not found within 24 hours, they have a 50 percent chance of either never being found, or being seriously injured. This bill provide a much needed safety net for these most vulnerable individuals." For more, read the story.


Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.

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