Illinois recently came one step closer to adopting a program to find missing seniors, as the Illinois State Senate unanimously approved Silver Alert legislation.
SB 1846 was introduced by Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) on February 20, 2015. The bill provides that the Department of State Police shall develop a coordinated program for a statewide emergency alert system when a person 21 years old or older who is believed to have Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias is reported missing. This new system would be referred to as the Silver Alert system, and would include public notification of missing persons with dementia via electronic messages sent to all law enforcement agencies; use of the emergency alert system; the use of electronic billboards and message signs in coordination with the Illinois Department of Transportation if a vehicle is involved; and posting of the Silver Alert message on Illinois Lottery terminals.
The bill passed on a vote of 52-0 on April 30, 2015 and was sent over to the Illinois House of Representatives for further consideration.
As reported in the Quad City Times:
A system to find missing adults who have wandered off because of Alzheimer’s or dementia is advancing in the Illinois Legislature.
The so-called Silver Alert measure, which would be similar to the Amber Alert program for tracking missing children, is headed for further debate in the Illinois House after winning approval in the Senate.
State Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Evanston, is the sponsor of the initiative.
“This problem is just giant and growing,” he said Friday.
State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, D-Plainfield, a co-sponsor of the legislation, released a statement of support.
“It is imperative that Illinois has a coordinated plan for locating individuals with Alzheimer’s,” she said.
“The Illinois Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association estimates more than 200,000 Illinois residents have Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias,” the statement said. “Nearly one-third of those will likely wander off, and the state currently doesn’t have an adequate system to alert the public.”