What is a Silver Alert and what is the activation criteria?
When a person goes missing, responding quickly is critical to finding them successfully. For certain elderly people, there is the Silver Alert system.
When a person goes missing responding quickly is critical to finding them successfully. To help in this endeavor, alert systems have been implemented in a reverse form of 911, asking the public for help locating individuals. These alerts have proven themselves to be extremely effective when activated.
Much like the AMBER Alert system, which is used to locate abducted children, over half of US states have implemented a Silver Alert or Code Silver system for certain elderly people that have gone missing. While the criteria for activating the system varies from state to state, some basics can be followed to ensure that system is not overused, thus desensitizing the public.
What is the activation criteria for a Silver Alert?
You will need to check the exact criteria for activating a Silver Alert in your state. But some simple criteria are generally followed by all states.
Note that not all states have a missing persons emergency alert system for seniors. You can check if your state does below and then go to the appropriate public safety agency in your state for further information. Most have a social media presence as well.
A Silver Alert may be issued for missing adults over the age of 60. However, an individual who is younger, including children, may meet the criteria for your state to issue an alert depending on the following:
Note, it is up to the local authorities to determine whether the criteria have been met. You do not need to wait any specific amount of time before reporting a person missing, the first 48 hours are considered critical for finding and recovery a missing person successfully. In the case of a wandering senior with dementia, up to half sustain serious injury within 24 hours.
Generally speaking, you will want to have certain information available to provide when you make the missing persons report. If they were in a car, provide the make, model and license plate. You will want to give authorities as complete a description as possible, along with a clear photo from the shoulders up.
You will also want to inform about any medical condition they may be suffering. Another important detail is whether they are likely to be at risk of being the victim of crime or foul play. All this will help law enforcement respond appropriately.
Which states have Silver Alerts?
There are 27 states and the District of Columbia that have a Silver Alert system in place including Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Another nine states have missing senior alert systems but do not go under the name of Silver Alerts which include Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio and Virginia.
Six states have no missing persons alert system implemented and the remaining eight have broad-based missing persons systems.
How common is wandering by the elderly and what can be done to prevent it?
Wandering by people living with dementia is common, with six in ten who live with the ailment doing so at least once, and many repeatedly according to the Alzheimer’s Association. There are things that family and care givers can do to reduce the risk of wandering such as identifying times and places where there is a possibility of it happening.
Analyzing whether your loved one shows signs that they may be susceptible to wandering and preparing one’s house can also reduce the chances of a person wandering.
Planning ahead and preparing a action plan in the event that it happens will aid in responding faster and calmer to help ensure that they are found faster.