Have you heard of the Silver Alert System?

Wisconsin has started a Silver Alert System that began on August 1st to help inform the community of a missing elderly person, much like the Amber Alert System does for a missing child. With this system, when an elderly person goes missing, the police can get word out to the community quickly through text messaging, emails, faxes, electronic billboards, and to broadcasters so everyone can help search for the missing person.

It is estimated that there are 110,000 in the state of Wisconsin that have Alzheimer’s or dementia and that 60% of these people will wander, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Wisconsin joins 41 other states, including our surrounding states, who have similar systems.

Silver Alerts will be issues when the following criteria are met:

  •  + The missing person is 60 years of age or older;
  • + The missing person is believed to have Alzheimer’s, dementia or another permanent cognitive impairment that poses a threat to the individual’s health and safety;
  • + There is reasonable belief that the missing person’s disappearance is due to the individual’s impaired cognitive condidtion;
  • + The Silver Alert request is made within 72 hours of the individual’s disappearance;
  • + There is sufficient information available to disseminate to the public that could assist in locating the missing person.

Of course, Alzheimer’s and related dementias are not limited to those 60 and older. When individuals with Alzheimer’s are missing and at risk but do not meet the criteria for a Silver Alert, the Wisconsin Crime Network (WCAN) can be utilized to send out a Missing/Endangered alert. With the WCAN, law enforcement officers issue alerts at no cost either by fax, e-mail, or text message to individuals and business owners.

Anyone can subscribe to the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network to receive alerts for free at https://alerts.wisconsincrimealert.gov/register.php.

If you are caring for a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia, there are many other programs and services available to help. At the Aging and Disability Resource Center, we can talk to you about what needs you have and match you with available resources.