- Published: Thursday, April 30, 2015 02:54 PM
SPRINGFIELD — When a loved one is missing, every moment can feel like an eternity. That wait can be especially terrifying if the missing person suffers from dementia, potentially lacking the cognitive abilities to stay safe.
The Alzheimer’s Association reports that one-third of individuals with Alzheimer's wander, and that Illinois currently lacks an adequate system to locate a missing person with a cognitive disease.
An estimated 210,000 Illinois residents have Alzheimer's disease or related dementias. As the baby boom generation ages, that number is predicted to triple.
To combat this troubling reality, Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) has championed legislation that would modernize and enhance the Missing and Endangered Person Advisory by adding a new Silver Search Program designed to help police better track down persons with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
“Until we find a cure for these debilitating diseases, we have no choice but to continue to enhance our methods for keeping our aging population out of harm’s way,” Biss said. “Our police need to have the best training, methods and resources available to combat the ramifications of diseases that already take our loved ones away from us to soon.”
The measure, Senate Bill 1846, creates a statewide awareness program that uses a Silver Search Task Force composed of experts to work in conjunction with law enforcement and the Department of Aging to develop and spread awareness of the Silver Search Program and tool kit.
The measure, after being approved unanimously in the Senate, now goes to the House for consideration.