Silver Alert system urged for province

Betterthan50.com is calling on provincial law enforcement agencies to re-consider the establishment of a professional Silver Alert system

Betterthan50.com is calling on provincial law enforcement agencies to re-consider the establishment of a professional Silver Alert system in B.C.

“With Alzheimer’s and dementia rates increasing in B.C., the government needs to get ahead of the curve to keep our at-risk seniors safe,” said Brian Kieran, publisher of the web portal for the 50-plus community.

“At this time, there is only a citizen-driven Silver Alert system that shares news about missing seniors via email, Facebook and Twitter.”

B.C. Silver Alert was launched by Sam Noh and Michael Coyle, a Coquitlam Search and Rescue officer. Three years ago, Noh’s father, Coquitlam retiree Shin Noh, 64, left home for his daily walk and vanished from the face of the Earth. Apparently, a member of his church spotted him, but didn’t realize he was missing. Noh’s family believes an alert system — similar to Amber Alerts issued for missing children — could have spread word of his disappearance in a timely fashion and saved his life.

“More than 30 U.S. states have Silver Alert systems that go into effect whenever a senior with Alzheimer’s or dementia goes missing,”Kieran said.

“These programs circulate a description of the person through radio, TV and road signs on major highways. Some systems can even send alerts to smartphone users in the area.

Over half a million Canadians are currently living with dementia, according to the Canadian Alzheimer Society.

That figure is expected to reach close to a million in the next 15 years.

More than 60 per cent of adults with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia will wander.