Texas House And Senate Vote To Expand Amber Alert System For Senior Citizens - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Texas House And Senate Vote To Expand Amber Alert System For Senior Citizens

New tonight, the Texas House and Senate voted to expand the Amber Alert system to include senior citizens.  The Silver Alert system would inform the public when older people with mental impairments, such as Alzheimer's disease, go missing.

"Especially in these rural areas around East Texas it can be a serious problem," said Alzheimer's Alliance executive director Jana Humphrey.

She says about 900 senior citizens are reported missing in Texas each year.  "Alzheimer's is a progressive degeneration of the brain and all the functions that go along with that, so a person that goes wandering does not remember where they are.  They don't remember familiar surroundings in their homes often," said Humphrey.

Patty Goodwin is the administrator at Reunion Plaza Senior Care Center.  She says the Silver Alert System is long overdue.  "Children live with a care give but seniors do not and they're really left on their own and they're much more vulnerable," said Goodwin.

Goodwin says in communities like Tyler, the Silver Alert System is needed.  "Being able to jump on top of that situation is very much needed, especially here in the Tyler area. This is a retirement area. Many man people are here over the age of 65," said Goodwin.

Humphrey says timing is everything when finding someone with Alzheimer's disease. "Wandering with Alzheimer's can happen at any point but those who have Alzheimer's are 60 percent more at risk for wandering and chances of survival are 50% if they're not found within 24 hours," said Humphrey.

She says the Silver Alert could mean the difference between someone getting back home or to be faced with a terrible situation.

The Alzheimer's Association has a nationwide safe return program that registers elderly people. The program has an 800 number for people to contact if they find missing seniors.  Those wanting to enroll can call the Alzheimer's Association at 1-800-272-3900.    

Oralia Ortega, Reporting.  ortega@kltv.com


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