HARRISBURG, Ill. – State Rep. Natalie Phelps Finnie, D-Elizabethtown, is highlighting the Silver Search statewide missing person coordination system, following legislation that recently went into effect, giving law enforcement in Illinois an increased ability to return loved ones with dementia to their families.
“Across the country, there are five million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, and projections estimate that this number could increase to as high as 16 million individuals by the year 2050,” Phelps Finnie said. “Before I started my career in nursing, I worked in a local nursing home. With my healthcare experience, I know that we must ensure that tools are in place for communities, law enforcement and families to care for these individuals. Silver Search is doing this by creating a statewide system to help find missing persons with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.”
The 99th General Assembly passed legislation that created the Silver Search Task Force, which included the Alzheimer’s Association, Illinois State Police, AARP, Illinois Broadcasters Association, Illinois Department of Transportation and more, which was charged with putting together resources for law enforcement to use when trying to find missing individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Under the legislation, when someone with dementia does go missing, caregivers should immediately notify the police. Law enforcement officials can then issue an Endangered Missing Person Advisory to be displayed on highway signs, billboards and lottery machines providing descriptions to help find the missing individual and ask the public for their help.
“I truly believe that this legislation will make a positive impact in Southern Illinois and throughout the state, so I would like to thank the folks that put their time and energy into making Silver Search a reality,” continued Phelps Finnie. “By providing law enforcement with the tools they need with the ability to engage the public in the search, we will be able to find missing people with dementia faster and ensure that they are safe.”
RepPhelpsFinnie@gmail.com. Phelps Finnie represents all or portions of the following counties: Alexander, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Johnson, Massac, Pope, Pulaski, Saline and Union.