SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - You've heard of the Amber Alert system, the national code that alerts law enforcement and the public to a missing child.
However, some in Siouxland feel that a system similar to the Amber Alert is needed for the elderly.
Cases of elderly people gone missing because of AlzhAlzheimer'sother types of dementia are more prevalent in Iowa than most people think.
"Iowa is an aging state. We have a lot of people that are in the risk category for living with Alzheimer's disease," Emily Lord, Alzheimer's Association said.
The Iowa legislature is trying to do something to combat these cases. A new bill, which has passed through Iowa's Senate, will promote the Silver Alert Program.
Right now, the program is handled on a county-by-county basis.
The bill sets a state-wide proceedure. procedurers say it will help law enforcement spread the word when elderly people suffering from cognitive impairment go missing.
Information about the missing person would be broadcast on message boards on Iowa's highways, alerting law enforcement and the community.
"When someone with early Alzheimer's or dementia, if they wander, and wandering is a pretty typical thing when you're talking about folks that suffer with those problems, this would allow law enforcement to put the message up on there," Iowa State Senator Bill Anderson said.
Senator Anderson says he was approached by the family of Dale Robinson, an 84-year old Moville man who went missing last August. Robinson has never come home.
"This is not a fault of our law enforcement, but it's just not something that's in place now, the use of these signs. So that individual came to me and said, 'We need a Silver Alert system,'" Senator Anderson said.
The bill still needs to make it through the House of Representatives, but Senator Anderson says he's optimistic that it will pass.
"I think it's very important. We're an older state, we have a lot of people who are dealing with these illnesses, and I know family members, there's a lot of concern out there. They want to have every tool at their disposal that they can," Sen. Anderson said.
"We're extremely optimistic that the expansion of the Endangered Person Notification system will lead to greater awareness for people with cognitive impairment, and will also lead to a higher quality of life and safety for Iowa citizens," Lord said.
For more information on this issue, or on Alzheimer's disease, call 1-800-272-3900 or go to www.alz.org.
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