House passes "Silver Alert" legislation to help locate missing seniors

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The U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday passed legislation that would set up a nationwide "silver alert" system to help coordinate local law enforcement officials in the event of a missing senior.

The silver alert system would augment the amber alert system, which alerts law enforcement agencies and the general public when a child has disappeared or been kidnapped. Recent reports suggest that up to 14 million seniors will develop Alzheimer's disease in the next few decades, and that up to 60% of them are likely to wander (McKnight's, 6/2). The bill would allow for up to $5 million per year between 2009 and 2013 to be spent implementing the silver alert system.

The bill, the National Silver Alert Act (H.R. 6064), also would reauthorize Kristen's Act, which was established to create a national database to track missing adults who are endangered due to age or diminished mental capacity. The Kristen's Act re-authorization would provide an additional $4 million per year over the next decade to help families locate and recover missing adults.