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What is Silver Alert?

Silver Alert is an Amber Alert for missing seniors.

Silver Alert is a public notification system in the United States to broadcast information about missing persons – especially seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia or other mental disabilities – in order to aid in their return.

Silver Alerts use a wide array of media outlets—such as commercial radio stations, television stations, and cable TV—to broadcast information about missing persons. Silver Alerts also use variable-message signs on roadways to alert motorists to be on the lookout for missing seniors. In cases in which a missing person is believed to have gone missing on foot, Silver Alerts have used Reverse 911 or other emergency notification systems to notify nearby residents of the neighborhood surrounding the missing person’s last known location.

Supporters of Silver Alert point to America’s growing elderly population as a reason to support new programs to locate missing seniors. Approximately 6 in 10 dementia victims will wander at least once, health care statistics show, and the numbers are growing worldwide, fueled primarily by Alzheimer’s disease. If not found within 24 hours, up to half of wandering seniors with dementia suffer serious injury or death

Silver Alert Legislation

S. 1814, the National Silver Alert Act of 2013, was introduced by Senator Joe Manchin on December 17, 2013. Senators Jay Rockefeller, Amy Klobuchar, Chris Coons, Claire McCaskill and Charles Schumer are original co-sponsors of Silver Alert legislation. S. 1814 directs the Department of Justice to establish a national communications network to assist efforts to assist regional and local search efforts for missing seniors and appoints a Department of Justice officer to serve as the Silver Alert Coordinator.  The National Silver Alert Act would also establish minimum standards for using and disseminating alerts issued through the network.

Click here for the latest news about Silver Alert legislation.

Silver Alert legislation has been pending in Congress since 2008. In May 2008, Representative Lloyd Doggett introduced the National Silver Alert Act in the U.S. House of Representatives, a bill to encourage, enhance, and integrate Silver Alert plans throughout the United States. Similar legislation was filed by Representatives Gus Bilirakis and Sue Myrick. The three bills were combined into a single bill, H.R. 6064. The bill was passed by the House in September 2008 by a voice vote, but the 110th Congress adjourned before it could be considered in the U.S. Senate. The National Silver Alert Act was re-introduced in the 111th Congress as H.R. 632. It was passed by the House of Representatives on February 11, 2009 on a voice vote but was not taken up by the Senate.

32 states and New York City have Silver Alert or a similar program to locate missing seniors. The American Silver Alert Coalition supports state legislative efforts to bring Silver Alert to all 50 states.

Silver Alert Success Stories

Silver Alert implementation varies from state to state. There are no national statistics for the success rates of Silver Alerts. However, among states that publicly release statistics, retrieval rates for Silver Alerts indicate a high level of success.

  • In North Carolina, 128 Silver Alerts were issued in 2008. Of these, 118 seniors were safely recovered.
  • In Georgia, Mattie’s Call has as garnered a safe return for 70 of the 71 calls issued between its inception in 2006 and January 2009.
  • In Texas, the Silver Alert system was invoked 52 times in the first year following its inception in September 2007. Of these alerts, 48 of the missing seniors were located safely, and 13 of these recoveries were directly attributable to Silver Alert.
  • In Florida, 136 Silver Alerts were issued in its first year (2008–2009), leading to 131 safe recoveries. 19 of these recoveries were directly attributable to Silver Alert. Over two years, 227 Silver Alerts have been issued in Florida – with 220 seniors located safely, and 36 of those recoveries attributed directly to the Silver Alert.

About the Coalition

The American Silver Alert Coalition is an alliance of concerned citizens and seniors organizations. We are working together toward the shared goals of enacting Silver Alert programs in all 50 states and passage of federal legislation to support state-level Silver Alert programs.

Recent Articles

7
Oct

Silver Alert Success Story: 44-Year-Old Connecticut Man Found in New York

On October 6, 2014, a Silver Alert  was issued for 44-year-old William Iovenko. Iovenko went missing in New Canaan, Connecticut and was later found safe 40 miles away in Johnson County, Kansas.

From the news story in the New Canaan Advertiser:

10:15 AM — The New Canaan man missing since Monday was found in New York State on Tuesday morning, Oct. 7, Police Chief Leon Krolikowski told the Advertiser.

“He is safe,” Krolikowski said.

6:55 AM — New Canaan Police have issued a Silver Alert for William Iovenko, 44, of New Canaan.

Iovenko was last seen on Monday, Oct. 6, wearing dark sweatpants, a light-colored T-shirt and a navy jacket.

26
Sep

Silver Alert Success Story: 76-year-old Missouri Woman Found In Kansas

On September 26, 2014, a Silver Alert  was issued for 76-year-old Janet Sue Hendren. Hendren went missing in Independence, Missouri and was later found safe 40 miles away in Johnson County, Kansas.

From the news story at KSHB-41:

Law enforcement in Johnson County, Kansas found Hendren.  She is safe.

Original story:

Police in Independence issued a silver alert after a woman disappeared Thursday night.

They want everyone to be on the lookout for Janet Sue Hendren.

Hendren is 76 years old; police say she has early onset of dementia.

29
Jul

Silver Alert Success Story: 76-year old Rhode Island man found in Vermont

On July 25, 2014, a Silver Alert  was issued for 76-year-old Paul Keeling. Keeling went missing in Providence, Rhode Island and was later found safe 250 miles away near the Vermont-Canada border.

From the news story at WPRI-TV:

A Silver Alert that was issued Friday for a missing 76-year-old man has been canceled.

Paul Keeling was last seen Friday morning boarding a bus outside the Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Chalkstone Avenue in Providence. Officials said at the time that he was visually impaired and hard of hearing and issued the alert Friday evening.

Police announced Saturday morning that Keeling had been located, and a spokesperson for the Va Hospital said he had been found in Vermont near the Canadian border. Keeling is reportedly in good condition but was undergoing medical tests as a precaution.

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