On January 1, California will enact the the Silver Alert program., according to The Sacramento Bee. If a person age 65 or older with dementia or Alzheimer's disease is reported missing, local police can request the California Highway Patrol to issue a bulletin asking for public, news media and law enforcement departments to search for the person. An estimated 30 states already have Silver Alert programs in place.
In the next 20 years, the giant Baby Boomer generation will increase California's 65-plus population from 4.5 million to 9 million. Silver Alerts will sound when older people wander or drive away from their homes or nursing facilities – a common event among people with moderate to severe dementia.
Wandering elders can walk or drive for hours, even if they are feeble. They may not eat, may not be dressed for difficult weather conditions, and often fail to ask for help. Add on a need for medications and the situation could be dangerous. to the point of serious injury or death, according to the state legislative assembly.
Safety for Seniors
Ruth Gay of the Alzheimer's Association of Northern California was quoted: "When we think of the number of baby boomers out there, it is a train wreck in the making if we don't figure out ways to protect our seniors."
Sacramento city police officials stated that calls about missing adults are routinely solved in a timely manner, and are frequently based on miscommunication. City Police Detective Chris Bernacchi told the Bee: "Anything that will get more information to the public to assist us in locating a missing person is great."