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'Silver Alert' could help track down missing seniors

By Rosa Duarte, Reporter, RDuarte@wfmz.com
Published On: Feb 10 2014 09:07:39 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 11 2014 04:40:10 AM CST

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) was in the Lehigh Valley Monday, touting new legislation that would create a nation-wide alert system to help locate missing seniors.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) was in the Lehigh Valley Monday, touting new legislation that would create a nation-wide alert system to help locate missing seniors.

The bill would establish a 'Silver Alert' that would work much like the AMBER Alert system used to find children.

“Six out of 10 seniors with dementia will wander at some point in their lives. We want to be able to set up a nationwide system to find them,” said Casey after his press conference at the Hispanic Center Lehigh Valley in South Side Bethlehem.

Senator Casey said such a system could make a huge impact in Lehigh and Northampton counties, where the population of seniors is close to 100,000.

According to Lorna Velazquez, director of the Hispanic Center Lehigh Valley, such a system is definitely needed.

“They sometimes have spouses, we have one in particular that his spouse would run off and she had to be placed in a nursing home. But having a system like that to prevent what could happen...I think it's very important,” she said.

If passed, the National Silver Alert Act of 2013 would direct the Attorney General to create a communications network that would help regional and local authorities in their efforts to locate a missing senior citizen.

It would also give investigators the ability to coordinate with the AMBER Alert system's communication network whenever possible.

“Sometimes, even an hour can mean a lot and to have a system that goes out just like AMBER alert, that's proven to work for children, we just want a comparable system for our seniors,” said Casey.

The bill is currently in the judiciary committee.

Casey hopes it will soon make it to the floor of the senate either as an independent bill or part of a larger piece of legislation.