Illinois Silver Search helping to bring people home
During 2020 there were 125 Silver Search advisories which led to 123 recoveries. Two advisories are still active.
By comparison, during 2019 there were only 74 advisories. Silver Search is a coordinated effort to bring awareness, education, and resources to help find and safely return people with Alzheimer's disease or dementia that go missing.
The Silver Search program brings to light the increasing incidences of people with Alzheimer's or dementia that get lost and ways in which the public can help law enforcement return them home safely.
By training law enforcement agencies across Illinois on the program, Silver Search has become a vital tool for law enforcement agencies to use when a loved one with dementia goes missing. According to the Alzheimer's Association, more than 230,000 Illinois residents are currently living with Alzheimer's.
Sixty percent of those with Alzheimer's will wander at some point during their diagnosis.
The rise in advisories can be closely related to training.
The Illinois State Police Department has trained hundreds of law enforcement personnel on warning signs to look for, communications skills and the criteria for a Silver Search, as well as procedures for activating a search.
"In these high-risk missing person cases, it is imperative that law enforcement responds in a timely and efficient way. We are glad we can provide an effective advisory system for law enforcement to utilize that partners them with the public to help return this vulnerable population home safely," says Craig Burge, Missing Person Coordinator with the Illinois State Police.
Once an alert is issued, Illinois State Police activate the Endangered Missing Person Advisory. This advisory will alert the public through notifications to media, Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) digital highway signs, Illinois Lottery terminals, in addition to the Silver Search website and social media channels.
"In partnership with the Silver Search Task Force, the Alzheimer's Association is very proud to have helped reach Illinois residents all across the state with the Silver Search Alerts. The Silver Search Facebook page has reached hundreds of thousands of users and has been a fantastic tool in helping bring people home safely," says Delia Jervier, Alzheimer's Association Illinois Chapter Executive Director.
This increased awareness has been the mission of the Silver Search Task Force, which brings agencies and organizations together with the common goal of educating people on Silver Search. The Task Force continues to meet on a regular basis to formulate goals for the coming years. The public service announcements will continue to air on lottery terminals and highway digital message boards also continue to be used when a person is missing in a vehicle.
Participating members of the Silver Search task force are: Alzheimer's Association, Illinois State Police, Illinois Tollway Authority, Illinois Broadcasters Association, Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, Illinois Department of Aging, Illinois Department of Transportation, AARP, Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board, Illinois Secretary of State, Illinois Lottery.
For more information, visit www.silversearchillinois.org