Caring for a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia is often a 24/7 job.
No matter how vigilant the care-partner, a person with Alzheimer’s can wander and become lost. It happens to 60% of those living with dementia.
Alzheimer’s Tennessee volunteer advocates helped pass a new law to improve Tennessee’s response to wandering and lost seniors. Since the Volunteer State’s enhanced Silver Alert System took effect in June 2021 more than 50 lost seniors have been reunited with their families.
The system works best when every Tennessean knows to be on the lookout, according to a news release from Alzheimer’s Tennessee. To help raise awareness, the Tennessee Legislature designated May of 2022 as Silver Alert Awareness Month.
“Alzheimer’s Tennessee is taking this opportunity to reach out to everyone in the Volunteer State,” a spokesperson said in the release. “We have developed a ‘Silver Alert Kit’ to help care-partners prepare in case a loved one wanders.”
The kit contains tips to reduce the risk of wandering and tools to assist first responders search for a lost adult. The goal is to ensure care-partners are able to gather their thoughts, photos and lifesaving information before a loved one wanders, instead of during an emergency. Click here to get a Silver Alert Kit.
Alzheimer’s Tennessee pointed out that every member of the Legislature passed the life-saving law with unanimous votes. Sen. Becky Massey was the prime Senate sponsor and Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Newport) was the prime sponsor in the House.
“Obviously Alzheimer’s Tennessee has a vast reach across the state,” Faison said. “We all know how important grassroots efforts can be. When I was 13 years old, my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, so this is near and dear to my heart.”
With the full support of Gov. Bill Lee and the legislature, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) created a statewide Silver Alert protocol, providing clear instructions and fostering cooperation among law enforcement agencies, stakeholders and media to respond to calls of vulnerable, missing adults who may be disoriented and incapable of finding their own way home.
Visit http://www.alztennessee.org/advocacy to learn more.
Alzheimer’s Tennessee, a 501(c)3 non-profit headquartered in Tennessee, has six regional offices to provide education for the community, family caregivers and health care professionals.