Monday, July 14, 2008

Amber Alert for Elderly

An article in today’s Lansing State Journal (LSJ) grabbed my attention. Rep. Mark Meadows, D-East Lansing introduced legislation requiring police to issue missing persons reports on seniors as soon as possible after receiving the information, much like the Amber Alert for missing children.

Several years after her dementia diagnosis, my mother would occasionally leave the house and head down the street and through neighbors yards.

Thankfully, my parents have lived on this street since 1962 and many of the neighbors recognized Mom. While Dad was trying to locate her, they would stop her from going further and then get a hold of Dad or start walking her back home.

Numerous stories in recent years have not turned out as well as ours.

According to Eric Hall, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, about 16 million people will develop Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia by 2050.

Meadows’ bill, called the Mozelle Senior Medial Alert Act, passed the Michigan House this spring, and is pending in the Senate according to the LSJ. The bill is similar to the national Amber Alert program and drawing federal attention.

According to the LSJ, others supporting the notification system include the Michigan State Police and AARP.

Due to the growing number of seniors and the rise in Alzheimer’s-related diseases, this bill needs to pass the senate and become law in Michigan. An alert system for missing seniors could prevent needless deaths.

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