A web portal for people over 50 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, Betterthan50.com publisher in a news release.
“At this time, there is only a citizen-driven Silver Alert system that shares news about missing seniors via email, Facebook and Twitter. The Betterthan50 team applauds the work of this grassroots group, but it is time to ramp up the program to match the scope of Amber Alert (for missing children).”
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. A member of his church spotted him, but didn’t realize he was missing. Noh’s family believes an alert system could have spread word in a timely fashion and saved his life.
After Shin Noh disappeared, a private member’s bill, the Silver Alert Act, was introduced in the Legislature but it died before it got far.
“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, and that figure is expected to reach close to a million in the next 15 years.
— NEWS Staff/Submitted by Betterthan50.com