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Law enforcement in Illinois now has an increased ability to return loved ones with dementia to their families under the Silver Search statewide missing person coordination system created under legislation sponsored by state Rep. Natalie Manley, D-Joliet.
“Nationwide, there are five million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease and this number could increase to as high as 16 million individuals by the year 2050,” Manley said. “We need to take action now to make sure tools are in place for communities, law enforcement and families to care for these individuals. Silver Search does that by creating a statewide system to help find missing persons with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.”
Two years ago, Manley sponsored legislation that created the Silver Search Task Force. The group, which included the Alzheimer’s Association, the Illinois State Police, AARP, the Illinois Broadcasters Association, the Illinois Department of Transportation and more, was charged with putting together resources for law enforcement to use when trying to find missing individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
In an instance that someone with dementia does go missing, caregivers should immediately notify the police. Law enforcement officials can then issue an Endangered Missing Person Advisory to be displayed on highway signs, billboards and lottery machines providing descriptions to help find the missing individual and ask the public for their help.
“I would like to thank everyone for their efforts to make Silver Search a reality in Illinois,” Manley said. “By providing law enforcement with the tools they need with an ability to engage the public in the search, we will be able to find loved one’s with Alzheimer’s disease faster.”
“It’s important to educate the general public about this new program,” Erna Colborn, Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter Executive said. “There are 220,000 people in Illinois living with Alzheimer’s disease. I am so thankful to state Representative Natalie Manley, state Senator Daniel Biss, and the Silver Search Task Force for coming together and putting the safety of Illinois’ most vulnerable citizens first.”
Learn more about the new Silver Search Program at www.silversearchillinois.org.