On the KFGO 790 AM show It Takes 2.0, radio hosts Amy Iler & JJ Gordon spoke with North Dakota Highway Patrol Lt. Mike Roark and Director of Homeland Security Cody Schultz about the North Dakota Silver Alert program.
In the past week, two silver alerts have been issued throughout the North Dakota. According to the ND Highway Patrol, they believe the Silver Alerts contributed to the location of both individuals.
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Researchers at the Queensland University of Technology have published a study that examined the tendency of people with dementia to wander and become lost. As a result, the Australian researchers recommend that a Silver Alert system, similar to Amber Alerts for missing children, be activated when someone with the diagnosis of dementia is reported lost.
Led by Dr. Margie MacAndrew from the QUT-based Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration: Carers and Consumers (DCRC-CC), the paper on the research outcomes — ‘People with dementia getting lost in Australia: Dementia-related missing person reports in Australia’ — has just been published in the Australasian Journal on Ageing.
From the story at Science Daily:
“In our study, most people were found within five km of the place from which they went missing although one person managed to travel 800km. However, like the US, most of those found dead were very close to home.
“The findings suggest that people living independently in the community, along with those in aged care facilities, may need to undergo routine assessment to identity risk of wandering and the negative outcomes associated with it.
“We also recommend current approaches to coordinating a search and rescue attempt should include, careful searching in the immediate vicinity the person was last seen, particularly outbuildings and garden areas, should be given priority.
“Rapid reporting within one hour of knowing a person is missing is also known to help search and rescue have a better chance of finding a person alive and well.”
An article written by the University Massachusetts School of Communications entitled “Silver Alert registry aids police in search for missing elders with dementia” reviews the progress being made launching Silver Alert in Massachusetts. Twelve communities in the Bay State have begun pilot Silver Alert programs within their jurisdictions:
The Office of Program Development within Commonwealth Medicine helped kick off a program designed to improve the success of the Massachusetts Silver Alert Community Response System. The state’s Silver Alert law, which took effect in 2010, sets up procedures and protocols for public safety and human services agencies to follow when seniors with dementia are reported missing.
Local police departments and elder services agencies in the 12 communities participating in the program are now working with families to collect recent photographs and information about seniors with dementia who might one day become lost. Pre-registering seniors with dementia will enable the local police department to begin searching for them immediately if they are reported missing instead of having to wait while the information is obtained.