Skip to content

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


Silver Alert Success Story: 76-Year-Old Connecticut Man Found in Massachusetts

On November 21, 2014, a Silver Alert was issued for 76-year-old Henry Williams Jr. Williams went missing in New Britain, Connecticut and was found 40 miles away in Massachusetts.


WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Police have located a missing 76-year-old West Hartford man in Massachusetts, after being missing for about a day.

Henry Williams Jr was last seen Thursday in West Hartford. Family members said Williams was driving his vehicle following a family member on Route 9 in the New Britain area, and then got lost. Williams was behind the wheel of his gray 2013 Honda Accord sedan.

A Silver Alert was issued after Williams had been gone overnight. Shortly after the Silver Alert was issued, Massachusetts police found Williams safe and unharmed. Police are safely returning Williams to Connecticut.


Silver Alert Success Story: 85-year-old Indiana Man Found in Kentucky

On November 16, 2014, a Silver Alert was issued for 85-year-old Dean B Wever. Wever went missing in Bloomington, Indiana and was later found safe in Kentucky.


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) – Police in Bloomington said a missing 85-year-old man was found safe in Kentucky Sunday.

Police issued a statewide Silver Alert for 85-year-old Dean B. Wever early Sunday morning.

According to the Bloomington Police Department, Wever stopped at a gas station in Scottsville, Kentucky and asked for help. The clerk then called Wever’s family, who called police.

Officers said Wever wasn’t injured, he was just confused and lost. His family was heading to Kentucky to get him as of Sunday night.


Silver Alert Success Story: 71-Year-Old Indiana Man Found in Pennsylvania

On November 14, 2014, a Silver Alert was issued for 71-year-old Ronald Reeeve. Reeve went missing in Indianapolis, Indiana and was later found safe 375 miles away in Uniontown, Pennsylvania.

From in WTHR-TV in Indianapolis:

An Indianapolis man who was reported missing Thursday has been found safe in Pennsylvania.

Ronald C. Reeve, 71, was the subject of a Silver Alert. He was last seen November 13 in the 8900 block of Sterling Ridge Run.

Reeve’s wife went out of town Thursday and last saw her husband around 4 p.m. A family friend was supposed to take him to a doctor’s appointment, but when he got to Reeve’s house, the man was gone and so was his car.

State police say Reeve was located in Uniontown, Pa. around 9 p.m. Friday by a Pennsylvania State Trooper who saw him walking along the highway after he ran out of gas.

“He’s been found and he’s going to be taken to a hospital and I talked to him and he sounded like himself,” said Reeve’s wife, Karen.

Family members think Reeve may have been heading to the Washington D.C. area, where he once lived. They are going to Pennsylvania to bring him home.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.