Silver Alert needed everywhere

Published 7:17 pm Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mary Jo Martin will introduce a resolution at the Silver-Haired Legislature of Alabama (SHLA) later this month recommending that the state legislature establish a Silver Alert Notification System for the state.

The Silver Alert will work very much like its sister program, Amber Alert, in that it will issue a statewide notification of an at-risk senior who is lost or missing and assist in finding that person through the use of electronic bracelets and a tracking system.

This program would come at no cost to the state, according to Martin.

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Well, the price is certainly right, but even if there were some cost for it, Alabama — and really, all 50 states — needs to have such a system in place.

The number of elderly people is on the rise nationwide. Martin said that 5 million seniors across the United States suffer from Alzheimer’s, dementia or other related disease, and that 60 percent of those — 3 million people — become disoriented and wander off, becoming lost, missing or, in tragic cases, found dead after being missing for a long period of time.

Similar SHLA proclamation last year passed through the Alabama House of Representatives, but stalled and died in the Alabama State Senate. Martin hopes that, with the notoriety of other Silver Alert programs in eight other states (and with this being an election year for some representatives), this time, the House and Senate will come together and approve a Silver Alert program for Alabama. For those of us with at-risk seniors among our family and friends, this could be a lifesaver.