VICTORIA- It’s time for B.C. to implement comprehensive measures to help locate and protect missing seniors with dementia, says Selina Robinson, MLA for Coquitlam-Maillardville.
On Tuesday, Robinson introduced the Silver Alert Act in the legislature. The bill would create a program which would alert the public of a missing person who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or any other form of cognitive impairment.
“We’ve heard too many stories of seniors suffering with dementia wandering away from their homes or care facilities, sometimes with tragic consequences,” said Robinson.
“Much like the Amber Alert system, this program would provide education and create the networks needed for police, search and rescue and the public to work together effectively to locate missing seniors and bring them home to their loved ones.”
In September 2013, Shin Noh, a Coquitlam resident with mid-stage Alzheimer’s went for a walk and got lost. Despite weeks of search efforts by police, search and rescue and community members, Mr. Noh was never found.
“A Silver Alert program is a good step in getting the alert out more quickly to people,” said Sam Noh, Mr. Noh’s son, who was in the legislature supporting Robinson’s bill Tuesday. “Every minute counts when you’re looking for a loved one.”
“Families like the Nohs, along with police, search and rescue units and a number of other groups want to see a Silver Alert program implemented sooner than later and are prepared to help move this program forward in whatever way they can,” said Robinson.
Senior’s critic Katrine Conroy noted that while the Liberal government published its Provincial Dementia Action Plan in 2012, the report mentions nothing about the risk to dementia patients when they wander from their home or care facility.
“There is no current protocol for law enforcement agencies to broadcast alerts and employ resources for individuals with dementia who have wandered off or are lost,” said Conroy. “I hope the Liberal government members realize how important this program is and vote to support the bill.”