Wandering is one of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, which currently affects at least 5.2 million Americans. The Alzheimer’s Foundation estimates that at least 60 percent of them—3 million people—are likely to wander in the course of their disease. Further statistics indicate that, among people with dementia who wander, at least 50 percent could suffer serious injury or die if they remain missing for more than 24 hours.
Time is of the essence when individuals with Alzheimer's or other cognitive disorders wander off or become lost. The Silver Alert Program was developed to provide vital information to authorities to assist in the search and safe recovery of these individuals and quickly reunite them with their loved ones and/or caregivers.
Modeled after the Amber Alert, the Silver Alert is an emergency system which law enforcement can use to disseminate statewide alerts for missing seniors and/or other adults with Alzheimer's or other cognitive disorders.
On a local level, the Silver Alert System works much like the Amber Alert. The missing person incident is reported to the local police. Personal health information may be necessary and it should show that the person (age 60 or older) suffers from dementia or is otherwise mentally impaired. Relatives should also provide other details that would help in tracking down the missing senior. After verification, the local police inform the state agency tasked to issue alerts.