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Gard's Silver Alert Bill Passes House
April 1, 2009 - A measure co-authored by Sen. Beverly Gard (R-Greenfield) to create a Silver Alert for missing endangered adults - especially those with Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia - passed the House of Representatives today.
House lawmakers voted 98-0 in favor of the legislation that would help protect the more than 100,000 Hoosiers with Alzheimer’s, a disease that sometimes causes adults to become disoriented and lost. Experts testified over half of people diagnosed will wander away from home at some point.
Passage of Senate Bill 307 came on the heels of this morning’s recovery of an Indianapolis man with Alzheimer’s. Officers say the 73-year-old man walked away from his son’s house around 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Similar to Amber Alerts, Silver Alerts would be issued by police, voluntarily broadcast by TV and radio stations and posted on Web sites when an adult is believed to be in danger. Under the bill, families could consent to have a regional or a statewide alert issued by law enforcement officials.
"The passage of this legislation is an important step in protecting Hoosiers, especially those with memory-robbing diseases," Gard said. "Using technology and law enforcement to spread the word of a missing adult could be a life-saving effort."
According to the Alzheimer’s Association statistics show:
• Every 71 seconds, someone develops Alzheimer’s disease;
• As many as 5.2 million people in the U.S. are living with Alzheimer’s disease;
• Alzheimer’s disease affects half of the nation’s seniors over the age of 85; and
• One out of eight people over the age of 65 is living with the disease.
If the bill is signed into law, police could use electronic highway signs to alert people of a missing senior citizen or endangered adult.
Gard said at least 10 other states have created versions of the Silver Alert. Senate Bill 307 now moves to the governor’s desk for signing.
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