Sen. Barbara Bailey reintroduced legislation that creates another alert system in Washington State, called the Silver Alert. Similar to the Amber Alert, this legislation aims to address increasing instances of missing, often elderly adults with mental impairments such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Up to 60 percent of persons with a dementia-related disease will wander at least once.
Senate Bill 5264 has been a priority for Bailey who serves on the Senate Health Care Committee. The Silver Alert seeks to raise public awareness when adults go missing and are in need of assistance.
“This bill will raise public awareness of a serious issue facing our aging population. Many people wouldn’t think twice about an adult on the side of the road, but if people are aware of a Silver Alert we can get help to those who need it more quickly to reduce the risk of serious injury or death,” Bailey said.
Dozens of other states and local jurisdictions that have implemented similar alert systems for missing adults. Demographic changes of an aging population demonstrate the need for this particular legislation as increasing numbers of missing persons are elderly.
A recent incident near Bailey’s district has drawn increased attention to the need for a Silver Alert system in the state when an elderly Everett woman went missing and was found nearly a month later, deceased.
“If we had a system that was able to alert the public to this particular need among our aging population; who knows, we could have avoided a tragedy like this.” Bailey said.