Oct 1, 2012

Mayor Bloomberg Why Isn't New York City Using the Silver Alert Effectively?

The Silver Alert program was designed to protect cognitively impaired individuals who become lost while driving a car or lost while on foot.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Mayor Bloomberg Why Isn't New York City Using the Silver Alert Effectively?
Specifically, the Silver Alert Program helps to reduce the risk of tragedy among those who are most vulnerable -- person suffering from Alzheimer and related dementia.

There are more than 5,000,000 Americans living with Alzheimer's. Statistics show that 60 percent will wander away. 3,000,000 people who are likely to wander, cannot fend for themselves, need help, and can die while lost.

There are approximately 50,000 persons living with dementia in Palm Beach county Florida. This is where I live. I am amazed at the number of silver alerts that are issued.

We have boards that flash Silver Alerts on the Interstate and turnpike.

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A few weeks ago I heard a story from the Director of a Memory Center in Brooklyn, NY. A family came into the center looking for help in locating a family member who was lost and suffering from dementia. They had been turned away by police. Fraught with anxiety they were seeking help. Fortunately, the person was found safe after more than 24 hours.

Why didn't the police use the Silver Alert in Brooklyn? New York city has the Silver Alert.

Today, I am reading a story about a woman living with severe dementia that wandered away from Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York.

The woman, Patricia Brown, was found two miles from the Medical Center and after five hours. She was battered and bruised from an apparent beating.

There is no mention of a Silver Alert being issued in the story I read about the situation in the New York Daily News.

I lived in New York for a many years. I can tell you, the people of New York pay attention. The police are everywhere and are top notch. But, they can't help locate missing dementia patients if  they are not alerted and asked  to do so.

Michael Bloomberg is the Mayor of New York City. Mayor Bloomberg is known for getting things done.

My question for Mayor Bloomberg.

Why isn't the Silver Alert system working effectively in New York City?

Over 8 million people live in New York City. There could be as may as 1.3 million people living with Alzheimer's or a related dementia. Or, as many as 780,000 that are likely to wander. If not found quickly, some will die while lost.

Scary? I think so.

The Silver Alert should be a priority everywhere. Including New York City.

You can read this hair raising story from our reader Donna about how her missing father was finally located once the Silver Alert system was activated.
We learned later that my father had become disoriented and lost but because he did not have a cell phone, remember the name of the hotel where he and my mother were staying, remember my mother’s cell phone number, etc. he was unable to ask for help.

Fortunately for us, he drove all night long. He stopped to get gas and a few times tried to ask for directions and assistance but was unable to give the people he asked enough information for them to help him. 
Within minutes of the silver alert information being displayed on his car computer, a Maryland DPS officer pulled my father over and he was returned to us safe and sound.
Read, My Dad -- Missing and Found

Bob DeMarco
Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The ARR knowledge base contains more than 3,811 articles with more than 306,100 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

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