These new efforts are similar to an Amber Alert, which is used when
children are believed to have been abducted and in danger. The
Endangered Missing Person Advisory, commonly referred to as a
"Silver Alert," aims to assist in locating older adults with
Alzheimer's, some other form of dementia or illness by giving these
endangered missing seniors high priority in reporting, investigation
and public notification.
"A delayed search can result in the loss of precious time to
locate a missing person," said Charles D. Johnson, director of the
Illinois Department on Aging. "But starting in January, we will work
to implement a system to help locate missing endangered seniors and
make recommendations to help families and caregivers know what to do
when an older adult with dementia or other illness goes missing."
The Illinois Department on Aging, in coordination with the
Illinois State Police, will develop and implement a community
outreach program to promote awareness among the state's health care
facilities, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other
senior centers. The guidelines and procedures shall ensure that
specific health information about the missing person is not made
public through the alert or otherwise.
Unfortunately, cases of seniors wandering from home, getting
disoriented or losing their way while driving are all too common.
This new law will improve coordination to help locate missing
seniors before they meet harm.
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The Illinois State Police will determine whether the missing person
is endangered or considered high-risk. "High-risk" means a missing
person whose whereabouts are not currently known and whose
circumstances indicate that the person may be at risk of injury or
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of missing loved
ones," said Illinois State Police Director Jonathan Monken. "The
state police will continue to work diligently with our communities,
law enforcement and legislative partners to bring missing persons
home and protect them from harm."
This law goes into effect Jan. 1.
For more information about program services to assist older
adults in Illinois and their caregivers, call the Illinois Senior
HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 or, for hearing-impaired use only, call
Department on Aging file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]