Alabama Enacts Silver Alert Legislation
Alabama has become the 29th state to formally adopt a Silver Alert program to find missing seniors, thanks to efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association of Alabama and a group of dedicated nursing students from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
“UAH Gerontology nursing students felt participating in this lobby day on Capitol Hill was a way to put professionalism into practice and participate in something that could positively impact older adult clients with cognitive impairment,” said Dr. Amy Hunter, UAH Clinical Assistant Professor of Nursing and Gerontology Course Manager.
HB 427 was introduced by Alabama state Representative Laura Hall (D-Huntsville). The previous existing state law said a missing senior citizen alert will go out if it meets certain guidelines. However, the Silver Alert Bill allows an alert to be sent for someone suffering from Alzheimer’s or Dementia. It also requires special training for law enforcement officers who search for a missing person with the disease. HB 427 passed the Alabama House of Representatives in March 2018.
In February 2018, UAH students and faculty joined with the Alzheimer’s Association of Alabama to travel to Montgomery to lobby on behalf of HB 427. One hundred UAH nursing students and three faculty members made a pre-dawn bus trip to the Alabama State House with hopes of making a difference in the lives of patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia. “It’s an opportunity to help people and that’s what nurses do,” UAH student Dawn Brown said.
“Especially when they come to a home for a domestic call, or pull someone over, we want them to be able to detect the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Brandi Medina, with the Mid South Chapter of Alzheimer’s Association.
Governor Kay Ivey signed Silver Alert legislation into law on May 21, 2018.