Friday, June 09, 2006

"Amber Alert" for the demented elderly?

…Also in the AARP Bulletin (June 2006), a story about a Georgia family whose mother, an Alzheimer’s sufferer, had wandered off and was found dead.

…They petitioned the Georgia legislature to create a statewide alert system for missing adults with dementia and other forms of impairment, similar to the America’s Missing Broadcast Emergency Response, or Amber Alert, system.

…The Alzheimer’s Association says 60% of the 4.5 million Americans with dementia eventually wander.

…Colorado has a similar law that goes into effect this summer.

…Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New Hampshire and New Jersey already have a system.

…New York decided no, saying too many alerts would dull the impact (kind of like car alarms?).

…What do you think, readers? Would a wandering older person really stand out like a kidnapped child?

….If he or she were being obtrusive, wouldn’t someone move in to help without highway signs or recorded phone calls?

..With the Alerts, wouldn’t every person “of age” be given the hairy eyeball by well-meaning types?

...The family mentioned at the beginning? Their mother, sadly, was found 500 feet from their home, not in the bus system or wandering the interstates.

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