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Silver Alert: A Proposed Bill To Help Vulnerable Adults

1-26-2013 Alaska:

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Silver Alert - it’s like Amber Alert, but for vulnerable adults.

A new bill introduced Friday in Juneau aims to create a similar notification system to Amber Alert but for vulnerable elderly Alaskans.

According to Sen. Johnny Ellis, D-Anchorage, SB-36 was designed to promote senior safety. Ellis said the bill would increase the chances of finding a missing adult with mental or physical disability before they're harmed by notifying the public.

“More senior citizens are retiring in Alaska so we have a growing senior population,” said Sen. Ellis. “We have more people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia.”

The Alaska Department of Military and Veteran Affairs would work in conjunction with Alaska Department of Public Safety and local media outlets, to spread the word about a missing or endangered vulnerable adult.

Shannon Clem, with Homewell Senior Care, said he would support the bill. He knows firsthand that elderly adults with dementia or Alzheimer’s can be at high risk when not under supervision.

“There’s facilities that have lock down units for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients and people still get out of there so no matter what kind of safeguards. You have you know it's just one of those things you're never going to avoid," said Clem.

"They certainly don't know what kind of danger they're in and a lot of times they don't [know] they've been walking for fifteen miles and they haven't had any water and they haven't had any food," said Clem.

Sen. Ellis said the bill shouldn't come at a high cost since the infrastructure is already in Alaska, with Amber Alert being in place, and also said that 30 other states have similar alert systems.

"It's not the biggest issue, it's not oil taxes or cruise ship rules but its an important issue that could save some lives," said Ellis. "That should be something Republicans and Democrats can agree on." ..Source.. by Mallory Peebles & Phil Walczak

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