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'Silver Alert' would notify police, public of missing seniors

February 4, 2014
by Lois A. Bowers, Senior Editor
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U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, a member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, is proposing the creation of a “Silver Alert” system to inform law enforcement and the public when a senior or other adult is missing.

The system, building on several existing state alert programs for seniors, would operate similarly to the Amber Alerts for missing children.

“The Silver Alert system will bring federal coordination to combat a problem that is becoming more difficult as our population ages and more of our residents struggle with challenges like Alzheimer’s and dementia,” Robert P. Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania, also a member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, said in announcing his support of the proposal Jan. 30 as a co-sponsor. “I’m hopeful that Congress can move in a bipartisan manner to pass this legislation this year.”

The National Silver Alert Act is supported by the Alzheimer’s Association, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, the Elder Justice Coalition, the National Association of Police Organizations and the National Sheriffs’ Association, Casey said.

In addition to Casey, other senators co-sponsoring the bill include Chris Coons of Delaware, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Claire McCaskill of Missouri (also a member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging), John "Jay" Rockefeller of West Virgnia and Charles Schumer of New York. All are Democrats.

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