Wisconsin silver alert bill helps save at-risk adults Submitted: 04/15/2014
Story By Kalia Baker

WISCONSIN - Six out of ten people with Alzheimers and dementia will wander off at some point.

That puts them at risk for injury or even death. And not all of those people are found quickly enough.

That's why Governor Scott Walker recently signed a bill that will help find them quicker.

The Wisconsin Silver Alert bill will create a program that works like an Amber Alert for missing children.

An effective alert system is crucial to the Northwoods because of the growing aging population and severe winter weather.

For advocacy groups like the Alzheimer's Association, the new bill is a huge victory.

"Family caregivers of people who have Alzheimers, or another type of dementia are worried and concerned about whether or not their loved one might wander away from home," said Julie St. Pierre, an outreach specialist for the Alzheimer's Association in Rhinelander. "It's very important that those caregivers out there know that there are important resources that can help keep their loved ones safe in the home. The Silver Alert is certainly now a part of that safety net that we have in place."

The Alzheimer's Association was just one group that worked closely with the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network to get this bill passed.

A coordinator for the network believes this system will save lives.

"This bill really advances [us] one step forward in addressing the needs of an aging population. And that's extremely important in the Northwestern part of Wisconsin," said Joe Libowsky, coordinator for the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network. "In the Rhinelander area, where you have fairly severe weather, it makes the urgency of getting out the alert as quickly as possible even more important."

The alert system will heavily involve all 500 law enforcement agencies in the state to respond to at-risk adults who are reported missing.

Wisconsin joins 30 other states with a silver alert system.

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