System Based on Amber Alert Designed to Locate Missing Adults with Dementia

WASHINGTON - Today U.S. Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI), Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, and U.S. Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) introduced legislation to create a nationwide network to aid in locating missing adults and senior citizens.  The Silver Alert Act creates a program modeled after the Amber Alert and provides federal coordination and assistance to local and state law enforcement agencies.
"Setting up a Silver Alert system for seniors who go missing due to Alzheimer's disease or dementia will promote the safety of our nation's seniors, while bringing peace of mind to many concerned families," said Senator Kohl.  "With half a million new cases of Alzheimer's every year, the need for a system of this kind will only grow."
"Every year thousands of adults go missing due to illness, diminished mental capacity, or foul play," said Senator Martinez, a member of the Special Committee on Aging.  "This kind of coordinated alert system has had proven success with locating missing children. Expanding it to include adults and seniors will give families and local law enforcement agencies access to the resources and expertise necessary to undertake more comprehensive search efforts for a missing adult."
This legislation directs the Department of Justice to establish a national communications network to assist efforts to locate missing senior citizens. It also authorizes grants for states and local governments to provide voluntary electronic monitoring services to elderly individuals who are at risk for going missing. Finally, it would reauthorize "Kristen's Act," a law that funds public and private programs to locate or recover missing adults, including the National Center for Missing Adults (NCMA). NCMA played a critical role in reconnecting more than 13,000 families after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.
# # #