If you are expecting a tip about the futures market in silver, I am sorry to disappoint you! This silver alert may be just as valuable, however.
Most of us are aware of the Amber Alert program, a warning system that alerts citizens and law enforcement about a potential child abduction case, using highway LED displays and widely broadcast media announcements.
The state of Florida has implemented a similar program to respond to reports of memory impaired seniors who are missing. The Silver Alert program is a partnership with law enforcement, media outlets, and community partners, aimed at quickly finding a wandering or confused senior, especially those who are behind the wheel of a car. One success story was 84-year old Gisela Petrovia. When she left her home in her car and did not return, a Silver Alert was issued. A description of her car and the license plate number was flashed on highway signs with a number to call to report a sighting. Soon afterwards, a family spotted the car and alerted authorities. Gisela was disoriented and lost, driving slowly on a freeway with her emergency blinkers on. Her story had a very happy ending.
How big is the problem?
According to the Snohomish County Sherriff’s Office, “It is estimated that 59% of people with Alzheimer’s disease will wander and become lost. Many victims will wander repeatedly. The dangers to a wanderer are numerous. If an elderly Alzheimer’s patient is left outside for more than 24 hours, their chance of survival drops to 50% due to the risk of exposure. . . A lost person with Alzheimer’s or a related disease represents a critical medical emergency.”
What can be done to protect a senior who may wander by foot or car?
*Supervision: When it becomes clear that a loved one is no longer safe to be left alone, finding trustworthy supervision is essential. Cascade Companion Care is able to provide sensitive in-home care that ensures a senior’s safety without limiting independence in areas of competence. We also provide supervision in other settings, such as assisted living centers and rehabilitative centers. Knowing that a dedicated pair of eyes is overseeing the activities of a confused, disoriented loved one is deeply reassuring.
*Alert “Jewelry”: Just like the bracelets that alert medical personnel to conditions such as allergies and diabetes, there are bracelets that alert people that a senior has a condition causing cognitive impairment. A woman in Lake Stevens told us about a kindly Community Transit driver, who recognized that his elderly passenger was confused and disoriented. He checked her bracelet and notified family members that she had boarded a bus. They were able to recover her safely. Check your pharmacy for bracelets and pendants that can be personalized with the information that could be life-saving for your senior.
*High-tech Alerts: GPS technology has made it possible to provide memory impaired seniors with watches, pendants, or other devices that beam their precise location to emergency responders. A spouse reported her horror at finding that the husband she was patiently waiting for at the doctor’s office had actually slipped out a back door! Fortunately, he was wearing a watch equipped with GPS technology that led the police to find him quickly! In Snohomish County, Project Lifesaver provides a cognitively impaired senior with a one-ounce bracelet that emits a radio signal unique to the wearer. When a caregiver or family member discovers that a senior has wandered, a call to 911 triggers a rapid response that uses the radio signal to locate the senior, usually in less than an hour! For information about enrolling in this program, contact http://sheriff.snoco.org/Sheriff_Services/Project_Lifesaver.htm
If you have concerns about your loved one with memory impairment, please talk with one of our Care Coordinators to see how Cascade Companion Care can assist you in a strategy for safety!