What Is A Silver Alert? | NC Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer

When an elderly person goes missing, it is often a more dire situation than when an able-bodied person disappears. In many cases, a person who is cared for at a nursing home or adult care facility suffers from both physical and mental health problems and could have a cognitive disorder such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. An elderly person is more like to fall, become lost, have an accident, or to die from exposure when they wander away from their homes or caregivers and it is vital to locate them quickly.

In 2007, North Carolina adopted the Silver Alert system in order to more quickly find nursing home elopement cases in which a resident wanders from the home grounds. Much like the national Amber Alert which assists authorities in finding missing children, the Silver alert quickly notifies police and other officials of missing seniors who may be in trouble.

Silver Alerts are then issued to the public through various media outlets as well highway signs in hopes of locating the missing person. Unlike other missing person instances, Silver Alerts allow caregivers who are not family members to report a missing person. Currently, 27 states including North Carolina have instituted a Silver Alert system. Seven other states are currently considering passing a Silver Alert system into law. A National Silver Alert system is currently a bill being considered by the US Senate.

In North Carolina in 2008, 128 Silver Alerts were issued and 118 seniors were found safety. It is not clear how many of these cases, however, are directly attributed to the issuing of the Silver Alert.