New Mexico State Senator Sen. Richard Martinez (D-Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Sandoval, and Santa Fe counties) has introduced SB 42 the Missing Person Notification Requirements Act. One of the proposed changes in this bill relates to the current age requirement for Silver Alert notifications. SB 42 would exempt the endangered person from the age requirement of 50 years or older if there is a clear indication that the individual suffers from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. This would align New Mexico’s Silver Alert policy with several other states that have already passed similar change.
Tommy Hernandez, the public policy director of the New Mexico Alzheimer’s Association, made the case for SB 42 in an oped in the Santa Fe New Mexican.
The bill also would provide a plan for collecting and maintaining records on each Silver Alert issued so that data-driven decisions can be made in the future. Currently, there is no plan to collect and maintain records and data on these notifications. Further, this legislation would establish a procedure for a text message notification on the endangered person, similar to an Amber Alert text.
This bill is urgently needed. Our state’s population of people age 65 and older will grow at a much faster rate than the national average. Aging is the single biggest risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s. According to the New Mexico Aging and Long Term Services Department’s website, “By the year 2030, New Mexico’s percentage of population over age 65 will move from 29th to fourth-largest in the nation.”
We look forward to advocating in strong support of this much-needed bill on behalf of the nearly 39,000 people living with this disease and the 110,000 selfless caregivers in our state today, and call on our policymakers to support it.
On January 16, 2019, a Silver Alert issued for 76-year-old Thomas Donnelly. Donnelly went missing in Tombstone, Arizona and was found safe over 300 miles away in Texas.
According to the news story on KVOA-TV:
The Silver Alert that was issued for a 76-year-old man dementia Wednesday has been canceled.
According to the Department of Public Safety, Thomas Donnelly was located in Texas.
Officials say he is waiting for a family member to pick him up.