Silver Alert System
Those of us who have an elderly parent with Alzheimer's disease or dementia worry about them wandering away. It's a real fear. Seniors who go missing have a heightened risk for ending up injured or dead. Residents of New Jersey can rest a bit easier, now that the Garden State has instituted the Silver Alert system, becoming the 11th U.S. state to create the emergency system.
New Jersey's acting governor, Richard Codey, chose a nursing home as the site for affixing his signature to the Silver Alert bill. Sen. Bill Baroni said, “This is an extraordinary thing to do, and our state should be very proud that it’s one of the few states that has this. This will go a long way toward making our parents, grandparents and neighbors safer.” Baroni was an attendee at the West Orange bill-signing event.
The new law puts into a practice a system in which the public is alerted to missing seniors so they can aid policemen in locating the wanderers. In essence, Silver Alert is a variation on the Amber Alert system that is used to help locate missing kids.
Sen. Baroni worked hard to push the Silver Alert bill to the state senate. That's because Baroni has personal experience with the phenomenon of wandering seniors. His late grandfather was afflicted with dementia and the family well remembers how he wandered away from his home, during the second half of the 1990's. Baroni's family was lucky, neighbors found his grandfather a mere few blocks away from his home, completely unharmed.
Statistics show that about 400 New Jersey residents wander away every single year. Half this number become injured or even dies. Baroni cited these Alzheimer's Association statistics to the crowd. He added that the state has now passed a law that will help ensure public safety. The law-maker is proud of this accomplishment and believes that Silver Alert will lend protection to a most vulnerable sector, those who suffer from Alzheimer's disease or dementia.
While Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo, who helped push the Silver Alert bill through the assembly was unable to attend the bill-signing event, he told the local media that, “this is a very important bill for New Jersey families.”
Ten other states are already using the Silver Alert system to aid law-enforcement officers in locating missing seniors including Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio, North Carolina, Michigan, Kentucky, Illinois, Georgia, and Colorado.