Florida’s Silver Alert Plan is 11 years old this week. This statewide notification system was created to broadcast information about missing seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia. Since the establishment of this program, 2,147 Silver Alerts have been issued, and 223 seniors have been safely recovered as a direct result of the Silver Alert.
“Silver Alerts play a vital role in helping the public work with law enforcement to safely recover a cognitively impaired missing person,” said Commissioner Rick Swearingen. “The public can also assist by being aware of those around them and recognizing when a senior is in need of assistance.”
“The Silver Alert Program plays an important role in ensuring the safety of our loved ones affected by Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias,” said Florida Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Richard Prudom. “We are proud of the program’s success to safely bring home missing elders and connect families with much-needed support through Florida’s Memory Disorder Clinics following wandering incidents. These efforts are critical to the security of vulnerable populations as we continue our efforts to make communities more dementia sensitive and supportive.”
Law enforcement has various search and tracking tools to find missing persons. In June of this year, a Silver Alert was issued from Lee County and a store clerk at a gas station recognized the 81-year-old from the Lottery System Silver Alert notification.
To receive Silver Alerts via email, please visit the Florida Department of Elder Affairs website at floridasilveralert.com.
Florida’s Silver Alert Plan was initiated by an executive order signed on October 8, 2008, and was codified into law by the Florida legislature in 2011. It is a standardized system for local law enforcement to aid in the rescue of an elderly person with an irreversible deterioration of intellectual faculties (such as dementia or Alzheimer’s) who goes missing. The Florida Silver Alert Plan broadcasts information about the missing elderly person through media, the Florida Department of Transportation’s dynamic message signs (when a vehicle is involved) and the Department of Lottery terminals to enlist citizens in the search for an endangered senior.
Local law enforcement agencies are encouraged to contact the FDLE’s Missing Endangered Persons Information Clearinghouse at 1-888-356-4774 to request an activation of a State Silver Alert when a vehicle is involved. Local law enforcement agencies should also develop policies and procedures that work best to ensure the quick and rapid recovery of missing seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia within their respective jurisdictions. Once the missing person has been located, the Department of Elder Affairs, in coordination with the area agencies on Aging and Florida’s Memory Disorder Clinics, work to prevent a recurring episode and to provide follow-up assistance to the senior.