November marked the beginning of a statewide public awareness campaign to help find those with Alzheimer’s or dementia who go missing. The Silver Search program is a new tool that helps train law enforcement agencies across the state on how to react in these unique missing person scenarios.
Sixty percent of those with Alzheimer’s will wander or get lost at some point during their diagnosis. Over the next two years, 2,500 officers and dispatchers will receive training which includes warning signs to look for, communication skills, and the criteria and procedure for initiating a Silver Search.
When applicable, the Illinois State Police will issue an Endangered Missing Person Advisory, which will alert the public through IDOT highway signs, Illinois Lottery Terminals, the Silver Search website and social Media channels.
An integral part of this new program is training the public on what to look for through radio and television PSAs, billboards, and social media marketing campaigns in both English and Spanish. The Silver Search program is designed to combine awareness, education, and resources in order to find and safely return the missing person.
In January 2016, legislation to form the Silver Search Task Force was passed. The task force brings agencies and organizations together with the common goal of creating awareness about the increasing number of these missing person cases throughout the state. The task force will meet regularly to collaborate and improve upon their toolkit.
For more information on the program and to learn about how you can help, visit the Alzheimer’s Association's Silver Search Program website.