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. Companion Silver Alert legislation, H.R. 5361, was introduced by Representatives David Joyce (R-OH) and Patrick Murphy (D-FL) on July 31, 2014.

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.

35 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

15
Nov

Silver Alert Success Story: 69-Year-Old Arkansas Woman Found in Oklahoma

On November 15, 2016, a Silver Alert issued for 69-year-old Doris Marie Nunley. Nunley went missing in Jacksonville, Arkansas and was later found safe 170 miles away in Oklahoma.

According to the news story on KARZ-TV:

A missing Jacksonville woman who was the subject of an Arkansas State Police Silver Alert issued earlier today has been found safe.

The Jacksonville Police Department says Doris Marie Nunley, 69, was located after a state trooper in Oklahoma conducted a traffic stop.

An Arkansas State Police (ASP) Silver Alert for Doris Marie Nunley, 69, states that she was last seen around 10:15 p.m. at the Travel Center Citgo gas station at 100 Fish Lake Road in Atkins.

The woman asked the store clerk for directions to I-40 westbound, according to the alert.

14
Nov

Silver Alert Success Story: 86-year old Arizona man found in Louisana

On November 13, 2016, a Silver Alert was issued for 86-year-old Albert Caviglia. Cavaglia went missing in Tucson, Arizona and was found safe 1200 miles away in Louisiana.

From the news story at Tucson News Now:

A Tucson man who was reported missing over the weekend was found safe in Louisiana, police said on Monday, Nov. 14.

According to a tweet from Sgt. Kimberly Bay of the Tucson Police Department, 86-year-old Albert Caviglia is in the process of being reunited with his family.

Caviglia had last been seen Saturday night, Nov. 12, near Banner UMC. He left the hospital around 11 p.m. after visiting his wife, according to police.

After that, police learned Caviglia’s car ‘pinged’ at a Border Patrol checkpoint in El Paso, TX, at 12:15 p.m. the next day.

Sgt. Pete Dugan with Tucson Police Department said they shared the car’s information with surrounding agencies in hopes of some help and Border Patrol responded.

22
Oct

Silver Alert Success Story: 83-year-old Oklahoma Man Found in Texas

On October 21, 2016, a Silver Alert was issued for 83-year-old Lawson. Lawson went missing in Perry, Oklahoma, and was later found safe 200 miles away in Texas.

From the news story at Tulsa World:

Perry police issued a Silver Alert for an F83-year-old man who was last seen Friday morning.

The alert was issued for Caroll Lavaughn Lawson. He was last seen near 6 Terry Drive in Perry about 10 a.m., according to the alert.

Police canceled the alert around 4:15 a.m. Saturday, saying Lawson had been found safely in Texas.