SACRAMENTO, Calif. -
What some call a long overdue system for alerting the California public about missing seniors is set to take effect Jan. 1. The ‘silver alert’ program will allow the California Highway Patrol to issue an emergency alert if someone who is 65 or older and suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease goes missing.
The program is similar to the Amber Alert Program used for missing or kidnapped children, except the electronic highway signs won’t be used.
The CHP, if contacted about a missing person by local law enforcement, would alert the news media and neighboring law enforcement agencies. Assemblyman Roger Dickinson co-authored the Silver Alert legislation.
“We hear stories, of course, of people who wander away and are gone hours or days totally disoriented and we want to try to help save those people whenever we can.”
Dickinson says the CHP alerts will be used selectively. The program comes at a time when the senior population is rapidly growing. About thirty other states already have some form of silver alert program.