State Wide Silver Alerts

Silver Alerts

Last weekend, my husband and I escaped to Seattle for the weekend. On the highway, we noticed one of the road signs lit up with a message similar to this: Silver Alert, please call 911, White Ford Tahoe license #. . .

Silver Alerts are similar to Amber Alerts, except they are reserved for Senior citizens with Dementia, Alzheimer’s or other cognitive disorders. In some states, they can also be issued for children under certain circumstances. At this point in time, Silver Alerts are different in every state, and not all states have created these programs. Oregon, Washington, California, Arizona and 24 other states along with the District of Columbia have Silver Alert programs. Nine other states, including Colorado, have programs with similar criteria to the Silver Alert program, and nine more states have programs with broader criteria.

Unlike Amber Alerts, which are a part of the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system, Silver Alerts are not spread through texts, but rather through other public service methods, such as: television, radio, roadside signs, Facebook, or other available media. But since every state is different, you need to check your state to see how they implement their system.

Last week, a Silver Alert was announced in California via a helicopter loud speaker for 97-year-old, Glenneta Belford, and a group of friends playing in the neighborhood took off on their bikes and searched until they found her hiding in the bushes. They called 911 and hung around until Glenneta was rescued. They were 10 and 11 year old children! (

Since seniors with Dementia or Alzheimer’s are at a higher risk of wandering away, and they are more vulnerable the longer they are missing, Silver Alerts have proven to be an effective way to find these loved ones. Legislation is in process to create a national program. Until then, we are thankful for the states who have initiated programs on their own. May you never need this, but with our population aging, and the number of people with Alzheimer’s growing, it is a very needed service.