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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

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.

22
May

Silver Alert Success Story: 82-year-old Florida woman found in Georgia

On May 21, 2014, a Silver Alert issued for 82-year old Jean Guthrie. Guthrie went missing in Port St. Lucie, Florida and was found safe xxx miles away in Camden County, Georgia.

From the story at WPTV-5:

UPDATE: Police say Jean Guthrie was located by the Camden County, Georgia, Sheriff’s Office in good health.  Guthrie’s family has been notified and preparations are being made to return her to her home.

EARLIER:

The Port St. Lucie Police Department is asking for the community’s help in locating a missing 82 year-old woman.

Jean Guthrie, of SE Wallace Terrace, suffers from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. She was last seen at her home Wednesday at 9:20 a.m.

The family reported that Guthrie had recently learned that she was going to be transferred to a nursing home and they believe this is the reason she left the residence.

21
May

Silver Alert Success Story: 81-year-old Florida Woman Found in Texas

On May 16, 2014, a Silver Alert issued for 81-year-old Socorro “Lee” Pelias Rakoski. Rakoski went missing in Fort Walton Beach, Florida and was found safe 760 miles away in San Antonio, Texas.

From the story in the Northwest Florida Daily News:

The Silver Alert for an 81-year-old Fort Walton Beach woman missing since Thursday afternoon was cancelled over the weekend, according to Fort Walton Beach Police Department officials.

Socorro “Lee” Pelias Rakoski, a Filipino female, was last seen Thursday near the Bingo Castle in downtown Fort Walton Beach.

Officials say she took a taxi to Biloxi, paid cash for the room and left Friday morning on a bus to San Antonio. When she arrived there, San Antonio police spoke with her and determined that she was of sound mind and able to make her own decisions.

However, she was admitted to a hospital for malnutrion and dehydration, according to Sgt. Matt Holt with the FWBPD.

“She said she was on her way to some Air Force base in Oklahoma,” he said. “She had a destination.”

Holt said it wasn’t clear whether she would be returning to the area or continuing on her trip. That would be up to her doctors and she was still in the hospital, as of Monday morning.

“The Silver Alert was due to the dementia,” he said. “We were concerned for her welfare.”

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