136 Silver Alerts Issued in First Year

They are a lot like the Amber Alerts. Since Florida began the Silver Alert program a year ago, 136 alerts have been issued for missing Florida seniors from ages 54 to 94. Some have Alzheimer’s or dementia. Many wander away from their homes. The alerts are also sued for younger adults who have developmental disorders.

In October of last year, Gov. Charlie Crist established the Silver Alert program that uses the media outlets, electronic message boards, and local law enforcement to help find missing persons, and find them fast.

Enlisting the help of the community is crucial when someone is missing. Every minute counts and the Silver Alerts engage motorists to be on alert. So far motorists have found about 15 percent of the state’s total cases.

“The Silver Alert is one of those resources you hope you never have to use, but when you do need it, it is a tremendous safety net for the elders covered by the alert,” says Jon Peck, the communications director for the Florida Department of Elder Affairs.

In the past year, at least five seniors were found dead after a Silver Alert was issued, that is about 11 alerts per month. Compare that to 150 Amber Alerts issued during the same time period.

Silver Alerts no doubt will be useful in the future as Florida’s elderly population grows. It’s expected there are more than a half million seniors in Florida now with Alzheimer’s disease and 115,000 with dementia. And with the number of elders over the age of 85 predicted to increase at the rate of 118 percent through 2020 – it is the fastest growing demographic in the state of Florida.

Florida is one of 18 states with a Silver Alert program and more than a dozen other states have plans to adopt similar programs.

Source article: http://www.news4jax.com/news/22062106/detail.html