Massachusetts House and Senate Passes Legislation to Protect and Return Wandering Elders with Alzheimer's
BOSTON, July 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Alzheimer's Association announced that passage of legislation today by the State Senate to establish a Silver Alert program will help hundreds of thousands in Massachusetts. The legislation, passed unanimously last week in the House, calls for program similar to Amber Alert with distinct differences. Silver Alert will be activated when an adult with Alzheimer's or other type of dementia wanders.
"This is a great victory for the 120,000 in Massachusetts with Alzheimer's and the hundreds of thousands of family members and caregivers who worry about a loved one who wanders," said James Wessler, President/CEO of The Alzheimer's Association, MA/NH Chapter. The Association took the lead in pushing for the legislation which was sponsored by Senator Robert O'Leary (D-Barnstable), and Representative Kathi-Anne Reinstein (D-Revere).
The legislation calls for dementia-specific training of first responders and public safety officials, implementation of a reverse 9-1-1 system based on existing call centers, notification to the media, and a standard operating procedure for first responders when an adult with memory impairment is reported missing.
"The Silver Alert bill is a pro-active piece of legislation that will not only help our communities better protect some of its most vulnerable citizens, but do so in a more efficient and cost effective manner," said Senator Robert O'Leary, senate lead sponsor of the Silver Alert legislation." I represent 10,000 families affected by Alzheimer's and I know some of the tremendous burdens they bear in caring for loved ones afflicted by this tragic disease. This bill will help alleviate some of that stress and I am proud of the work my colleagues accomplished today."
House lead sponsor, Representative Reinstein noted, "This is a simple matter of public safety. The more we can do to effectively ensure the safety of those suffering from Alzheimer's or dementia, the better." Reinstein continued, "Unfortunately this is an illness and an issue with which far too many families in our Commonwealth are coping--it is my hope that passage of this bill will be of significant assistance to those who need it."
The Alzheimer's Association, with headquarters in Watertown, has regional offices in Springfield, Raynham, and Worcester, MA and Bedford and Lebanon, NH. They provide services and programs for those with Alzheimer's, family and professional caregivers in the form of support groups, a 24/7 Helpline, care consultation, advocacy efforts, research funding and education programs.
SOURCE Alzheimer's Association