Imagine this: You have a loved one who is experiencing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. They have a car because they have always been independent. One day they take the keys like they normally would run their errands, and suddenly many hours have passed and you’re unsure where they are. You call the police to report them as a missing person hoping that someone has spotted them or will be able to find them.
You’re relieved to learn that if your loved one is confirmed as a missing person, a digital billboard will be posted about their disappearance.
“According to the New Jersey State Police, a Silver Alert is activated when an individual with cognitive impairment, who's operating a motor vehicle and is believed to be in danger of death or serious bodily injury, has been listed as a missing person,” explains Dino Flammia of NJ101.5.
Currently, the public is alerted of a Silver Alert through digital billboards, after law enforcement has confirmed that the person who went missing was driving a vehicle. However, N.J. Assemblywoman Angela McKnight believes the current system is not doing enough and is pushing for the expansion of Silver Alerts. Her goal is to have Silver Alert notifications be similar to Amber Alerts when a child goes missing.
If new legislation is passed, the way we currently see Silver Alerts will change, but how?
Flammia explains that Silver Alerts would need to be issued with a distinctive sound tone and the statement, “This is a missing person Silver Alert.” This alert would be broadcasted “as often as possible” during the first three hours and in appropriate intervals thereafter.
Although Silver Alerts are meant to reunite loved ones safely, it is important to do your part to keep your loved ones safe. One way to do this is by having difficult conversations about whether it’s safe for them to drive. Discuss with your loved one what it means to lose that independence and how they will continue to have their needs met.
As diseases like Alzheimer’s progress, your loved one will become more forgetful, putting their safety at risk. When thinking about how to maintain your loved one’s quality of life while keeping them safe, having a live-in aide may be best route for you and your family. A live-in aide can prevent your loved one from becoming a missing person because someone will always be with them.
If you have any questions about home care for your loved ones and, you can contact us. You can also check out the rest of our blog posts on our website.
Written by Madison Chalmers
Image by Freepik